By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor
Maplesville High School seniors turned their tassels and stepped into the next chapter of life during graduation on May 26.
Several of the graduates had been together since elementary school. There were tears from many of the speakers as they reflected on their time at the school or talked about those who are no longer alive but had helped them get to this point.
Each speaker thanked staff and family members.
“Graduation is more than just caps and gowns and inspiring speeches,” Valedictorian Cole Gray said. “It is a time to share with friends all the memories, fun and happy times; a time to reflect on the person you used to be and the person you hope to become.”
He encouraged his fellow graduates to keep going after mistakes and to make the most of each moment.
“Remember who you are right now and who you want to become,” Gray said. “… Remember that you are special, and you can do anything you want to. For some, college is in your future. Others, you will immediately begin your careers. No matter where we end up, one thing is certain — you will remember Maplesville High School. It has become a part of you that will be instilled in you for all your life.”
Valedictorian Elizabeth Mims emphasized that their hard work as students had paid off in bringing them to this point.
She said finding out that she was on track to be a valedictorian at the beginning of the school year became motivation to continue working hard in school and make her family proud.
Mims thanked her classmates for the memories and encouraged them that “if you have a dream, make it a reality.”
“I know each of you will do amazing things in your life,” Mims said.
Valedictorian Avery Reed said being a valedictorian “has always been a dream of mine.”
She said she was proud of what the class was able to accomplish and recounted some fun memories.
Valedictorian Anna Grace Small said she will remember the journey of getting to graduation.
“I am going to remember all the Friday nights after football games going to Waffle House with my friends,” Small said. “I am going to remember all the times I wanted to quit so bad, but was pushed by my teachers and friends to keep going.”
She thanked the senior class for “the most interesting years of my life.”
Valedictorian Emilee Smith recounted some favorite memories from over the years, and thanked the staff members who had supported the class through it all.
“Good luck in your passions and following your dreams,” Smith told the senior class. Salutatorian Alexis Thomas thanked her fellow graduates for making her high school years “the most memorable” and the school staff “for encouraging us to be the best versions of ourselves.”
She encouraged students to take the opportunities that come to them in life.
Graduates finalized their celebration with a cap toss outside the auditorium.