‘Your life is truly limitless and bright’

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

Polk County High Schools top of the class&bsp; advised 2010 graduates to be content with life and enjoy the small pleasures.

We will never be truly happy if we force ourselves to conform to the social norm, or give up our hobbies to work overtime for a job we hate just because it pays well, said salutatorian Jessica Blackburn at graduation ceremonies Friday. Life is short.

Polks 172 graduates, including five from the virtual early college, walked across the stage during a hot and humid Friday night and each stuck CDs of their own pictures and memories onto principal Aaron Greenes robe as they received their diplomas.

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Students Matthew Sanders Alexander and Lynette Dawn Williams sang the national anthem and senior class president Letoya Nichole Twitty gave the welcome speech.

Honor speeches were given by graduates Angelina Lilly, Tiffany Abigail Blackburn, Evan Alexander Fell Fitch, salutatorian Jessica Lynn Blackburn and valedictorian Alexander Sasha Olegovich Gogoli. Gogoli also played Crested Hens on the violin.

Gogoli said he decided not to use “famous pearls of wisdom” in his speech.

“Tonight I would just like to share my memories with you, he said. He said when he first came to America from Russia at the age of six, he didnt know the language, customs or mannerisms. He said a couple of weeks into school he came home crying because the kids did not want to play with him. After his father told him he needed to learn the language, he learned English, his third language, in two weeks.

I learned one very valuable lesson: hard work will be respected and will provide results, he said. All of the opportunities given to me has made me a prime example of how grand this country really is. I am living proof of a heartwarming tale of the American dream.

Salutatorian Jessica Blackburn urged graduates to take pleasure in lifes simple moments and to be spontaneous instead of falling into a routine

As we begin to think about the rest of our lives and realize the significance and symbolism of this moment, remember that your future is truly limitless and bright, she said. Be proud of who you are and what you believe in and never let anyone or any situation persuade you to compromise. Congratulations on achieving this milestone.”

Lilly thanked many of her family members for getting to the moment as well as Polk County for being her family. She spoke of the importance of being thankful, enjoying nature, loving and forgiving.

Be content in life. Stop wasting your time wishing and wanting and just do it, be it, Lilly told her fellow graduates.

Lilly said she feels the most vibrant when she is out in nature and urged graduates to get connected with Mother Nature. She said she personally is a vegetarian because of how great it makes her feel and by no means is she implying everyone should become vegans, but think about all the life that is packed into a tomato versus the life thats in a Twinkie. Its a simple choice. Instead of watching a sitcom, choose to watch the sunrise.

Fitch said he he has lived no longer than other graduates so he has no words of wisdom to impart on other graduates, so, rather than attempt to deliver a message of inspiration, I will endeavor to deliver one of hope.

Fitch said his hopes for graduates future are respect, good health, friendship, love, passion and happiness.

Thus, that is what I hope for for all of us not for wealth, success, nor glory, Fitch said, but for respect, for health of mind, body, and spirit, for friendship, for love, and for passion in life. Because by yearning for these, I hope for happiness.

Tiffany Blackburn spoke of teachers who helped graduates get to this point in their lives, including Mrs. Bradley and Mr. Brumley in middle school and Mrs. Newton, Mrs. Allsbrook and Mr. Picher in high school.

To speak honestly, these last few years have been enlightening, invigorating, unnerving, and unbelievable, and I would like to thank my teachers, family, friends, administrators, and fellow students for making them memorable, Blackburn said.