‘See how high your branches take you’

Published 11:59 pm Friday, May 29, 2009

“Reach for the top and do your best, and see how high your branches take you.”

With those words at Friday night’s 105th Andalusia High School graduation ceremony, AHS valedictorian D’Amber Chambers summed up her class’s goals and aspirations as they moved onto the next chapter of their lives.

Chambers was one of 95 students who received a diploma at Friday’s celebration in the high school auditorium.

“I sincerely thank this senior class for everything they have done for the betterment of Andalusia High School,” AHS principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare said. “They are ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.”

Chambers’ valedictory address, titled, “Branching Off Into the Future,” used the imagery of a tree to symbolize her class’s journey through 13 years of school.

“It is time for us to branch off into our own separate directions,” she said. “Some of our limbs will be longer than others; some of our limbs will be rougher than others; but we determine our outcome and the fruit our trees shall later bear.”

Chambers, the daughter of the late Monica Chambers, spoke of how parents and friends helped to serve as “roots” to give the students’ lives a firm foundation.

“I, personally, lost the most supporting root in my life and thought that my tree would not survive,” she said. “However, with the help of my strong base and other roots, I have come through the worst of it.

“Remember, my fellow graduates … the sun always shines after the storm, and we are all still standing today.”

Charlotte Patterson gave the salutatory address, “Beginning’s End.”

Clara Bass, Carolyn Cory, Reid Taylor and Patterson were members of the fourth generation in their families to graduate from AHS, or the former Woodson High School. Catlin Ballard, Sara Beasley, Arnicka Crittenden, Heather Cross, Christopher Gatlin, Nico Johnson, Gillis Jones, Jeffrey Moore Jr., Michael Tyler, Andrew Veasey, Jeremy Wiggins and Chambers were each members of the third generation to graduate from AHS or Woodson.