DOBSON — Finding success in life can be like crossing a perilous sea in a open boat. It’s easy to get lost or thrown overboard and difficult to stay the course.
That was part of the message from Surry Central’s student body president at Thursday’s graduation for the Class of 2017.
Daniel Alvarez-Orlachia not only was voted president of Central’s student body, the senior also was salutatorian (missing valedictorian by a few hundredths of a point) and a four-time state champion in track. He has earned a full-ride scholarship to Davidson.
He said people have asked him his secret to success.
First he gave his answer in Spanish, which he said is the first thing his parents taught him. Then he gave his answer in English.
When trying to steer that boat toward success, he explained, some people are going to be pushed off into the water by the people they allow into their lives. Others will throw themselves out of their boats looking for something new or exciting.
“All of life comes down to choices,” he said. When he made the decision that he wanted to be a winner at track, he chose to strictly follow the training regimen given to him by his coach. He followed it even when it rained or when he couldn’t get out to run until late at night.
Some people called him silly or crazy, he recalled, but he made his choice and it worked out for him in the long run.
The same thing happened when he made a choice to do well in school. Sometimes you need to look for help to pass your limits, he said.
Many folks look for instant gratification, but some choices mean having goals that aren’t reached right away. The hard work doesn’t pay off immediately; be patient.
“Now you know all my secrets,” he said. “I hope you do not fall off your boats.”
At the start of the ceremony, Principal Celia Hodges welcomed the families of the graduates and members of the Surry County Board of Education in attendance. She recognized several seniors for special honors, including those going off to college next year.
The Class of 2017 has 178 students, 21 less than the year before, she said. And yet, this group has done so well that it has surpassed the Class of 2016 by $300,000 in scholarship offers. She said the total for the graduates is about $2,385,000 earned overall.
Senior Class President Anna Senter told the audience how on her first day of school she was armed with nervousness, curiosity and a Barbie backpack.
Those nerves and curiosity remained, but the past 12 years brought a wealth of knowledge that she can take forth into the world.
She encouraged the senior class to carry with them the knowledge and things of worth that they will need in life and let go of that which no longer holds importance — like the Barbie backpack she left behind years ago.
The Central Eagle ensemble and senior chorus members then performed “We Won’t Stop Dreaming” by Pinkzebra, with Christian Wood on bass and Tanner Boone on drums.
After Alvarez gave his speech, the senior chorus performed Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” with Senter and Abigail Stroud strumming on ukuleles.
Then came the presentation of diplomas and the turning of the tassels before the seniors spilled out into the courtyard to celebrate with family and friends.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.