DOBSON — A busy three days of graduations began Thursday evening with Surry Central holding commencement for 220 seniors.
Senior class president Daniela Rodriguez Puente gave thanks to her mother for the sacrifices she made so that her daughter could have a brighter future.
“Migrating to a new country was hard. Having to raise me was 10 times harder. I’m a handful, although she probably wouldn’t put it that nicely,” Rodriguez said. “It was no easy task, but I’m graduating, so I would call it a success.
“Like my mother, everyone faces their own unique obstacles in trying to achieve their dreams. It is not those obstacles that define us, though. Instead we are define by our character as we meet these choices and tackle them fearlessly.”
Going forward each of the graduates will be seeking his or her own path to success, she said.
“How we chose to define success is not important, what is truly important is that we all share the drive to keep working as hard as we have up to this point, achieve our individual definition of success.
“As former First Lady Michelle Obama once said, ‘The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.’ Congratulations, Class of 2018, and good luck reaching your dreams.”
Student body president Brandon Norman said, “I would like to speak about two things that I think we should all hold dear to our hearts for the rest of our lives. The first is kindness. Growing up we were always told to treat each other as we would want to be treated. I think as time has passed and I’ve matured, that means more to me right now than ever.
“In today’s world we are surrounded by a type of violence that is hindering the growth of mankind. With that being said, I ask myself, ‘What can the Class of 2018 do to promote kindness?’
“When people begin to think of how they can make a difference, they oftentimes think on a large scale. But, I think the best way to promote kindness is to start in your house, your school, your friend group, your job and your community.
“Everyone here is a farmer of your own life. … Is our seed going to be a seed of kindness and love for others to see, or is our seed going to be something that could be perceived as negative?
“The second idea I would like to speak about is the gift of having a choice. … I feel like we as the Class of 2018 also need to consider all the possible choices we have made and can make in our lives.”
“When we look at life, it’s really all about choices. Do I chose this or do I chose that? Do I speak my mind or do I hold my tongue. Do I sleep or do I study for a really big math test tomorrow? And yes, Coach Red, we all chose to study.”
“We all made the choice to be here today. We made the choice to make (it) this far. We made the choice to be successful, despite the various challenges that we may have faced.
“I think the most-important choice for all of us to make is deciding what will we do to make us the best versions of ourselves in our future endeavors.”
After the two student speakers addressed the crowd (which completely filled the home bleachers, half the visiting bleachers and lined the fence around the track) the diplomas were handed out to the graduating class.
Tonight, East Surry has graduation. On Saturday are North Surry, Mount Airy and the first-ever commencement for Millennium Charter Academy.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.