Laurel High celebrates 2018 graduates

By Scott Bleile

Tonight, we close one chapter of your life and start another, said Laurel High School Principal Matthew Marine as he welcomed the 2018 graduating class of Laurel High School. You control your own destiny. You need to ask yourself these questions, where will you see yourself in the future? When you hear your name, what do you hear? Do you hear responsible, trustworthy, confident? Are you successful? These are words you want to hear about yourself. You will hear these answers by the choices you make. We are here to celebrate you and what you have accomplished. Life is like a box, what you take out of it depends on you, that is your purpose. Remember the choices you make today, will be your autobiography tomorrow.

Each year Laurel invites the graduating class that graduated 50 years ago. This year the class of 1968 celebrated with the class of 2018. It is a great pleasure to have the class of Ô68 with us tonight, Marine told the packed stadium. Each year we invite the class that graduated 50 years ago to attend. The class of Ô68 led the graduates onto the field to start the ceremony.

Laurel Superintendent Dr. Shawn Larrimore told the graduates each night before I go to bed, I read a book. Each book is about leadership. Something a famous person has done and how they accomplished their goal, a sport team and how they reached the championship or about how to reach your goals, so I can learn their secrets, make myself a better leader to not only help myself, but also help me make you better students. In 1988, I sat right where you are sitting tonight. I wasnt a great student, but I reached my goal of graduating. I recently read a book about the owner of Nike, who is from Oregon. He talked about the Oregon Trail in the book. In the early 1800s families struggled to get to prosperity and took to the trail to find opportunities. The trail was tough. There were a lot of obstacles and the terrain was scary. The families made the journey to reach their goals. The cowards never started traveling on the Oregon Trail, only the strong made the journey.

When you leave here each of you will find the same things on the trails you follow. You must work hard to reach you goals. People have been down on Laurel for a long time. You showed up and rebranded Laurel as a strong school with tough choices. There is a cost to your seats here tonight, only the strong made the journey and the strong have survived. We have many students that will go out and make our nation stronger. Congratulations class of 2018.

The Valedictorian of the class was Thomas Evans Turnbaugh IV. It has been my goal since I was six or seven years old to be standing here today. My Mom and Dad made sacrifices and I want to thank them for all they did for me. I also want to thank the teachers, staff and my coaches for all they have done for me and to make me the person I am today. To my classmates, we were together in all of this. We were names, not a number. Be the voice of change. Dare to be different. Take risks and seek answers. Wherever you go, make an impact on others and the world maybe someday you will get a field or building named after you, said Turnbaugh.

The Salutatorian was Nyra Nannette Giles. You all have shaped who you are today. Being able to speak to you tonight was a dream of mine. You need to know where to begin you journey. Time goes on regardless of what happens. It is up to you to embark on your new journey. We will all have to work hard and persevere. Dont let fears stop you, Giles said.

As graduates name were read, they walked across the stage, shaking hands with school administrators, school board members and teachers to loud cheers and horns being blown. After the last member crossed the stage, Turnbaugh, also the class President, told the students to change their tassels to become graduates of Laurel High School. It was now official and hats were thrown into the air. The class gift to the school is a stone walkway in front of the high school building.

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