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89 say farewell to Andalusia High School Friday

Lexie Victoria Studstill, a fourth generation AHS graduate, receives her diploma from Shakespeare at Friday night’s graduation exercises. | Kendra Bolling/Star-News

Common ground was the theme of Andalusia High School valedictorian Lauren Powell’s address Friday night.
Powell said that each member of the class had a different background; they act differently, look different and believe different things

“Our common ground began when we were toddlers: we crawled – we stood – we walked—we ran,” she said.

Powell compared the class as babies learning to crawl to them crawling through elementary school.

“We first learned to crawl. We pulled ever so slightly into the new world into which we were thrust,” she said.

“Throughout elementary school we crawled away from familiar places into new spaces and discovered new faces. Some of us were eager to crawl out to see what this experience was all about, but others were not as sure. They crawled more slowly and were pulled along. Some are still crawling.”

Powell said that as classmates began to feel safer and more secure, they began to stand.

“We pulled ourselves up, tried out our legs,” she said.

“A feeling of independence. Some of us were more confident than others, standing tall and solid. Others of us were not, sometimes feeling more like you do when you stand in a floating canoe, wobbly and shaky. Others just stood still.”

Powell said the group moved along to walking after their confidence grew with standing.

“Some of us were walking forward, some walking backward. Some were walking fast and some slow. Some were just walking in circles. Yet we were walking.

“And then there was running. Yes, running. Running toward things, to new ideas, concepts, beliefs, values and goals. Running to people. And yes, running away from people, from authority, from memories,” she said. “Running and falling, some getting up and others staying down. We have all been running our own race. But how fast? How far?

“Yes, these are the basic things we have in common. We crawl, we stand, we walk, we run. This is our reality. This is our common ground.”

Powell said that with the new beginning, the members of her class must do what they’ve done before – crawl, stand, walk and run.

“First, crawl. It’s always the hardest at the beginning,” she said. “Everything is a challenge the first time. But it can be mastered and perfected. Crawl, roll, inch, whatever it takes to explore new places, new people, new ideas.”

Powell encouraged her classmates to stand.

“Stand still and listen. Listen to others, to yourself, to that voice inside, to God,” she said.

“Stand tall. Stand on the shoulders of others, but remember to let others stand on yours as well. Stand for something. Stand up for someone. Stand and lend a hand. Stand strong so that others can lean on you.”

Powell told the Class of 2010 to walk with their head held high when all around you is crashing down.

“Walk toward your dreams. Walk hand in hand with others,” she said. “Walk for health, walk upstream. Walk tall.”

Lastly, Powell told the class to run.

“Run with arms outstretched. Run toward something or away from something,” she said. “Run full speed ahead. Run a race, but run a fair race. Run with the wind. Run and don’t look back.”

“We will go our separate ways in search of our own futures, but this here tonight shall be our common ground,” said. “Your destiny is yours.”