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HCHS senior banquet a time of reflection

Halifax County High School seniors created a new set of memories to last a lifetime Monday when the Class of 2013 gathered in The Prizery Banquet Hall for its senior banquet.

Students took time to share some of their final memories and celebrate being a step closer to graduation.

“We always do a senior banquet every year for the high school,” said Class Treasurer Patrick Barton. “We just want to let the kids know it’s our last year, and we want to have fun and leave off on a good note before college.” 

“It’s kind of like the last hoorah before the prom, our last gathering with everyone,” added Senior Class Reporter Bailey Hammond.

Students enjoyed a catered lunch, performances by Gabby Harris and Shae Gotte and a special dedication to the late Ryan Puryear given by Chaniqua Pointer.

Puryear, who would have graduated this year, was killed Christmas Eve in a car accident.

Prior to the catered lunch, Class President Briyana Jackson introduced keynote speaker Bernard Logan.

A Halifax native and 1974 graduate of Halifax County High School, Logan continued his education at Hampton University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Logan later moved to Washington, D. C. where he joined the C & P Telephone Company workforce, now Verizon.

In 2000 he was promoted to customer service manager and relocated to Richmond where five years later he was promoted to director of the Potomac Area service centers.

Later he was promoted to director of consumer and mass business communications where he is responsible for reporting to the vice president of that division of Verizon managing an annual budget of $78 million.

He is married to Mari Logan and is also licensed to sell real estate.

He is a member of the Lead Virginia team and serves on the Henrico County Board of Local Emergency Preparedness for the Richmond area representing Verizon Communications. 

Logan is also an owner of a convenience store in Church Hill and owns several rental properties in Halifax County.

In his address to students he offered students four keys to success.

“Your success will ultimately be impacted by what you read, the people you associate with, the choices you make, and the ability to focus on your goals and your dreams,” Logan said.

Reading also is fundamental.

“Reading is the foundation by which we gain understanding and knowledge that opens doors to us that we otherwise would never experience. It will take you places, and you never have to leave Halifax County,” Logan said.

As a child growing up on a tobacco farm in Dryburg, Logan said reading took him places that he never could have imagined.

“Reading also prepares you for a successful business career. It also prepares you for additional educational pursuits, prepares you for business ownership, and I can go on and on, but the bottom line is it’s a killer for success.”

In today’s business environment, corporations are looking for those individuals with strong backgrounds in the sciences, technology, engineering and math, according to Logan.

 “ That means you read well,” he added. 

Soft skills such as leadership, team building, social networking and conflict resolution are equally critical to being competitive in the global environment, Logan noted.

“These are the fruits of effective readers,” he added.

He also explained the importance of a good education.

“As an employee of Verizon Communications, you must have a college degree before you can be in a leadership role,” Logan said.

Those interested in a technical position would more than likely have to pass an entry-level exam and learn the technical requirements of those positions also.

“Once again you must read well,” he said.

 “I know that the faculty and the educators of the Halifax County School System do a masterful job in preparing you for what is ahead. They know what it is like to be a student, the joy and determination of moving from student to your new horizon. They know what they must do to prepare you for your new assignment.” 

Logan recalled the impact certain teachers had on him, and how much of a difference it made.

He then asked the students to give the educators a “We love you” clap.

 “The people you allow in your life will also be essential for your success,” Logan continued.

He suggested students surround themselves with individuals who “exude positive vibes.

“As you navigate through this thing called life, you will encounter all kinds of people. There will be those who are successful in their area of expertise, there will be those who are highly intelligent, there will be those who are pushy, those who are complainers and those who see the glass half empty instead of half full,” Logan said.

 “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart,” Logan said repeating a famous quote.

He then offered students advice on how to deal with “pushy people.”

“When I’m pushed, I am able to reach down in my being and find a way to achieve and perform at a level that I never before realized I was capable of doing, Logan said. I now operate from the position of I dare you to push me. I dare you to challenge me to achieve greatness.”

He told students to not wait for someone to push them but for them to push themselves.

“You never know how great you can really be until you’re pushed, and in life you will encounter situations as well as people who will challenge you and when your faced with those situations, look at it as though you’re being tested. Unless you’re challenged, you’ll never know what you are capable of doing.”

He explained that pushy people can be beneficial to a person’s growth also.

“So when you encounter them and that’s what you’re feeling, just tell them to bring it on,” Logan said referring to pushy individuals.

He advised students to surround themselves with people who are smart.

“I would not have been blessed with my wife of 20 years if I were afraid of a person who’s smarter than me,” he said, adding, many benefits are found in being around smart people.

He also advised students how to deal with complainers and how to make the best choices for their future.

“What you need to do is just let those folk walk right out your life,” Logan said. “Make those choices that align with your vision and your goals.” 

The most powerful word in the English language, according to Logan, is “focus.”

He told students to focus on their dreams and goals.

“Focus, never give up, stick with your dreams, and you will achieve it.”

Following the meal, Principal Albert Randolph offered closing remarks advising students they have three options.

“Your plan should always be to set goals real high for yourself. If you don’t reach the first goal, maybe you can reach the second. If you don’t reach the second, there is a third one, but if you don’t have a plan you don’t go any place,” Randolph said.

He informed students the date of graduation will not change.

“June 1 is not going to change. Now some of you all have got to make some arrangements to be there on June 1 at 9 o’clock a.m., take care of business.” 

 He closed by challenging students to envision themselves 10 years from now when they are able to come back to their class reunion with a successful career and life plan.

Following the banquet, seniors were taken on a tour of the Southside Virginia Higher Education Center.