By: Sherry Williams Kidd | Email: Click Here
Posted: June 18, 2018 | 1:25 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – On a beautiful, hot, and sunny June day, the faculty, administration, staff, students, and graduating seniors, of Dinwiddie High School participated in the 2018 commencement ceremony.
Dinwiddie’s 322 graduating seniors and their families all made their way to nearby Ettrick in Chesterfield County and Virginia State University’s multipurpose center, which served as the venue for this year’s ceremony last Friday morning. Those unable to attend were not left out of the special day as the school division broadcasted the ceremony on the high school and school system’s websites live.
The ceremony began with the traditional processional, with ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ being played by the DHS Concert Band, under the direction of Ryan Gregory. Colors were then presented by DHS ROTC Color Guard, followed by the always-moving Pledge of Allegiance, led by Jessica Anderson.
Smiles were not hard to find among Dinwiddie High School’s seniors as they lined up at the Virginia State University multipurpose center ahead of last Friday’s graduation. (Rodger Allen Kidd)
Dinwiddie High School’s Class of 2018 Honor Graduates were announced by Randall Johnson, the school’s Principal, and they stood among the other graduating seniors for recognition. Those honor graduates, who all obtained a grade point average of 4.0 or higher are as follows: Mohammed Jehad Alam, Storm Moya Bodnarik, Cody Charles Brugos, Edwin Alberto Kajun-Lima, Bryante’ Andrea Craig, Carson Elizabeth Durham, Electra Jane Spencer Ellis, Jarod Scott Fischer, Kendall Morgan Foster, Grayson Ray Harmon, Ashton Horace Henshaw, Isaiah Rashad Hicks, Kiana Marie Hutt, Daylin Helena Mason, Hannah Lindsey Mayton, Cody Nickolas Mills, Courtlyn Elizabeth Partin, Allison Grace Potts, Wade Scott Reiter, Bailee Elena Severt, Lauren Taylor Slaughter, Samantha Sue Ann Smith, Tanner Justin Staton, Carly Destiny Townsend, and Haley Marsee Williams.
Dinwiddie High School’s Class of Salutatorian was Samantha Smith and during an eloquent address, she put her thoughts and feelings into words.
“I am certain that those graduating today have grown not only as intellectuals but also as builders and innovators,” she said. “Success does not come easily; while we all have inevitable downfalls, we can still stand as beacons of hope for the future.”
Smith went on to talk about the three greatest contributors to the success of the seniors; their parents, their teachers, and themselves.
“We graduates are present here today because of the first supporters that we have ever known, our families,” Smith remarked to the packed building of students and families. “It is essential to acknowledge the important role that they played in nurturing their now senior in high school. They have served as the foundation for our strength as students and individuals, and we as graduating students need to appreciate their relentless efforts in allowing us to grow into the young people that we are today.”
She concluded her speech by saying, “Finally, I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations to the Class of 2018, and I wish all of us success in our bright futures.”
Following the presentation of honor awards by Dinwiddie Schools Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston, Dinwiddie School Board Chair William Haney, and school principal Randall Johnson, Dinwiddie High School’s Senior Class President Jasmine Gladney delivered a humorous and nostalgic recounting of their journey as a class before Class of 2018 Valedictorian Cody Brugos spoke to his fellow classmates, sharing a whimsical, yet moving address.
“I have three people in my life that I need to thank individually for their loving, continuous support in my life. Now, choosing the order of these three people has been the most difficult choice I have ever made because it is interchangeable in order of importance; however, my Mom requested to be first. Therefore, Mom, thank you for all that you have done for me; from driving me up and down the east coast for soccer, to being the loving mother every son needs. Dad, thank you for pushing me to strive for excellence, and offering words of wisdom about everything known to mankind. Alex, thank you for showing me how to compete, how to organize, and for paving a foundation throughout high school. Countless times, I have been asked by a teacher if I was Alex’s brother. This question would soon be followed by a statement about how exceptional Alex is in character and in academics. Mom, Dad, and Alex, thank you and I love you all.”
Dinwiddie’s Valedictorian Cody Brugos delivers his address to the 322-student strong graduating class of Dinwiddie High School during last week’s graduation. (Rodger Allen Kidd)
Brugos continued, “Strive for excellence and go achieve greatness. I believe it is a human flaw that we tend to settle for things in life, but settling for things raises the question, ‘Are you really living the life you want?’ Ask yourself ‘Is this me?’ I challenge you all to look in the mirror and spend time with yourself to figure out who you truly are and who you truly want to become. Whoever you may want to be, whether it is a professional athlete, doctor, lawyer, Congress member, poet, musician, dancer, artist, or teacher, go out and become it; do not let outside forces dictate your greatness. Sometimes, there is going to be nobody there for you. There will be times when life hits hard and there is not another hand to help you up. Therefore, sometimes you have to be your own best friend. If you truly want to be something or somebody, go out and be it. The legendary Ralph Emerson once said, ‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’”
Brugos summed up his thoughts by saying, “Now, as a class, let’s strive to be willing to work hard to achieve success and be great models for others. Let’s exemplify Emerson’s quote and leave a trail for the younger generations to follow us throughout their lives to help guide and assist them as they form their own path. Let’s take the initiative and not only set the standard but be the standard. I believe each and every one of you can go out and leave a trail to greatness. Be great. Be a leader. Be the change this world needs. God Bless the United States of America and God Bless Dinwiddie.”
After Brugos’ remarks, special awards were given by Rebecca Tilton, Assistant Principal, assisted by Principal Johnson with the traditional presentation of the class gift being led by Senior Class Treasurer Haley Williams
Hundreds of Dinwiddie High School graduates were joined by their family, friends, and instructors at last Saturday’s graduation ceremony held at Virginia State University’s multipurpose center in Ettrick. (Rodger Allen Kidd)
Four years and countless assignments, projects, and tests all culminated in the moment Dinwiddie High’s 322-member Class of 2018 had been waiting for, walking across the stage in front of smiling friends and family to get their hands on a hard-earned diploma. All the emotions you would expect to see from Dinwiddie High’s newest graduates were there, smiles that could light up even the darkest room, while others were clearly a bit nervous from all the attention. Other graduates seemed to have something else on their mind while shaking hands with administrators Friday, the sand and surf of “Beach Week,” a traditional getaway for graduates.
The cheers inside VSU’s multipurpose center were continuous as Dinwiddie’s graduates received their diplomas, as the school showed their reputation of being a family, each person inside celebrating the success and accomplishments of every single student graduating.
After the presentation of diplomas, there was an acceptance of the class by Dr. Kari Weston, Superintendent.
The ceremony ended with the recessional by the DHS Concert Band.
There was much laughter, shouting, applause, tears, hugs, and many, many emotions, to include gratitude, of parents and students alike. Congratulations Class of 2018 and Godspeed!