Though low clouds threatened rain throughout most of the ceremony, only a brief sprinkle fell on the 158 seniors graduating from Elizabeth High School and the friends and family filling the football stands to honor their accomplishment.
During the May 23 ceremony, faculty praised the Class of 2015 for its dedication and academic achievements, including $3.1 million in college scholarships, honors grade point averages, and members admitted to the National Honor Society, Thespians and Tri-M Music Honor Society.
In his welcoming remarks to the graduates and families, Rod Blunck, acting principal of Elizabeth High School, spoke of the future, but also of remembrance, encouraging his students to remember where they had come from, to remember the people who supported them along the way.
“Please remember while it is free, the most distinguished place in a home to have your picture is on the refrigerator,” Blunck said. “Always remember to hold yourselves to a higher standard than you hold others. As you leave to make your imprint on the world, remember to call home often, because the people that you're leaving will miss you each and every day.”
Following his remarks, he honored the 2015 valedictorians, the school's highest academic honor. Blunck presented each of the seven seniors who achieved a GPA of 4.0 or higher with an eagle statuette and then yielded the podium for each to make brief remarks.
Before accepting the class on behalf of the district to receive diplomas, superintendent Douglas Bissonette expressed his gratitude to the community for its support of the graduates, the school and the district.
“Public education is the bedrock of a republic. The support that comes from citizens that contribute to the schools when they pay taxes, volunteer their time, or choose education as a profession makes an incalculable difference in the lives of every child in our school,” he said.
Bissonette congratulated the graduates on their hard-earned success and thanked the families for the opportunity to teach the students of the district.
“Elizabeth School District is deeply proud of the quality and dedication of our teachers, our counselors, our administration and staff. They have worked very hard so that these students can meet their graduation requirements and be prepared for the challenges and opportunities of our changing world.”
Bissonette also recognized a graduate with a long family history in Elbert County and invited Kayla Kagan to the platform. Kagan was acknowledged as a fifth-generation graduate from Elizabeth High School and presented with a plaque in recognition of her family's legacy.
“We are tremendously proud that you have followed in the footsteps of four generations and have become the first of the fifth generation of your family to complete your secondary education at Elizabeth High School,” Bissonette said.
Following the presentation of diplomas and the recessional, the graduates gathered inside the school to say farewell before leaving to attend their own celebrations.