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Halifax County High School grads begin next chapter

“Your mission is complete.” Those were the words Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph said after the over 300 member class of 2013 walked across the stage Saturday morning to receive their diplomas.

The high school gymnasium filled with proud parents, guardians, extended family, faculty and staff and other administrators Saturday as Halifax County High School held their commencement exercises for the class of 2013.

Senior Class President Briana Jackson opened the ceremony with a welcome followed by a moment of silence for their lost classmate, Ryan Puryear, who died in a wreck on Christmas Eve.

“We thank you friends and family…we thank you for pushing us,” said Jackson.

Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon, attending her first graduation in that capacity, along with Southside Virginia Community College President Dr. John Cavan’s Assistant Anne Hayes handed out associate degrees to 85 students who earned the Associate of Arts and Science degrees.

“We’re counting on you and looking forward to hearing about the next chapter in your lives,” said Herndon.

Each of the students who acquired degrees will save parents $50,000 over their college careers for a total savings of $4.6 million for these families of HCHS graduates.

The top three students in the class of 2013 presented commencement addresses including Emily Scott, Julia Scott and Michael Good.

Emily Scott led the trio, saying, “By our words and actions, let us shine in our role as leaders in our community, our professions and our lives. In the years to come, let the class of 2013 be remembered as the class that the stars of achievement shined upon.” 

She left her classmates with the advice of “believe in yourself and believe in your ability to make your dreams become a reality.”

Her twin sister, Julia, who was named the class valedictorian asked her classmates to remember all those who had supported and inspired the class of 2013 through the years.

“Let us take time on this day to express our heartfelt gratitude to those who have supported and inspired us throughout the years,” said Julia.

“Give thanks to the teachers who stayed after hours to tutor and the parents who made late night trips to Walmart to buy poster boards for a project that is due the next day. Show appreciation to the friends who cheered for you as you scored the winning point and the grandparents who applauded your performance during the school play. Remember the coaches who have instilled the values of teamwork in their athletes,” she added.

Julia challenged her classmates to inspire others as they begin their new journey.

Salutatorian Michael Good said in the now famous words of Drake, “We started from the bottom, now we’re here!”

Good told his classmates there would be difficulties in the years ahead but to not lose hope.

“Difficulties come to test your strength. They help you grow and teach you valuable lessons about yourself and your capabilities. Problems bring out your best and actually help you achieve your goals. Working through the problems will bring success, but success for your benefit alone is empty. Be aware of your fellow man and help those around you,” said Good.

Following the addresses, Randolph recognized the top 10 seniors who each were presented with $1,000 scholarships from the Halifax County Public Schools Education Foundation. The top 10 includes Julia Scott, Michael Good, Emily Scott, Mary Bane, Margaret Redd, Vatsal, Lal, Shereen Massimi, Jessica Conner, Elexis Ward and Lindsey Arthur.

Herndon and school board chairman Kimberly Farson presented the diplomas to the students, and with beach balls flying across the sea of graduates, Randolph gave closing remarks. 

“Congratulations Class of 2013, you have completed the mission,” concluded Randolph.   

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