PILOT MOUNTAIN — The 127 graduates of East Surry’s Class of 2014 celebrated their triumphs and their tribulations as a family Friday night during the school’s graduation program. Lindsey Grace Badgett was named as salutatorian and Christopher Stephen Holshouser was named valedictorian.
Holshouser, who is also senior class president, chose to speak from the heart rather than the printed page as he admitted to classmates, family and staff his speech had not made it to the podium.
“It’s days like today which make you glad,” said Holshouser as he explained the Cardinals’ love and care for one another, and this serves as “an immovable beacon of strength against the storm.” He then said he would rely on his love of eating to guide him for the rest of the welcome speech and told classmates life was similar to a buffet.
He said they know there are things they will love but they should try the food they are not familiar with because they may find they would wish they had tried it years ago.
“We have accomplished so much despite suffering from senor-itis, junior-itis, sophomore-itis and for a select few even freshman-itis,” Holshouser said. “I now pronounce you healthy. Congratulations. We have come through so much together. You have so much to look forward to. We are unique. Powerful. You can change the world with what you do.”
Principal Diane Beane, who is retiring this year after 30 years of service in Surry County Schools, told the group they were the fifth senior class she had served. She told them they were “a class I will never forget” and recalled how much they had changed since coming to East as ninth-graders. She told them to believe in themselves, find a purpose in life and take responsibility for their lives.
According to Beane, 25 students have a weighted grade-point average (GPA) of 4.0 or higher, 86 students have a weighted GPA of 3.0 or higher, 25 percent of the class will be enrolled at a four-year college or university with 70 percent of the class enrolled at two-year colleges and four seniors joining one branch of the military.
Beane said 104 college credit hours were earned by students in this class while completing high school courses with eight seniors obtaining certificates from Surry Community College and more than $1.9 million in scholarships and grants awarded to the senior class. She told the graduates, “once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal.”
“We are a class that somehow never pulled off a senior prank,” said Student Body President Jerry Galloway. “Probably too much snow to get anything organized.” He told his classmates to be grateful to and for everyone around them and told the underclassmen their time was coming when they would be on the stage saying goodbye to their friends of 13 years. Galloway told his fellow seniors to chase after their dreams with the years behind them being just an introduction.
In addition to Holshouser and Badgett, marshals with Summa Cum Laude honors for the program were Jesse Barr, Austin Haymore, Lindsay Smith, Alec Wilson, Brandon Cosgrove, Lucas Koons and Laken Tucker. Magna Cum Laude honors marshals were Karli Fulp, Emily Linville, Sydney Mosley, Richard Segers, Andrew Zachman, Andrew Kozlow, Erin Moore, Benjamin Rolison and Garrett Vass.
Taylor Swift’s song “Long Live” was performed by Sarah Branch, who was accompanied by Chad Freeman, and members of the East Surry Junior Officers Training Corps served as the color guard for the ceremony.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on Twitter @MtAiryNewsDave.