Published 12:02 am Saturday, May 23, 2015

Andalusia High School Valedictorian Ashley Spears gives her speech. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia High School Valedictorian Ashley Spears gives her speech. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

124 graduate from Andalusia

One-hundred-and-twenty-four members of Andalusia High School’s Class of 2015 received their diplomas at graduation exercises Friday night in the AHS auditorium.

This was Andalusia’s 112th annual commencement program.

Andalusia Valedictorian Ashley Spears and Salutatorian Brayden Burkhardt centered their commencement addresses around famous quotes.

Spears chose Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

“Right now, we may be struggling at the fact that we have to leave all the years of memories we have shared,” she said. “From staying up studying for one of Mrs. Sasser’s tests or going rolling during homecoming, we have made memories that will last a lifetime.

“However, we are no longer facing what lies behind us,” she said. “Whether going to a four-year university, a two-year college, defending our country, or joining the workforce straight away, we are meeting what lies before us head on.”

Spears encouraged her classmates to look within them as the days unfold.

“As we face what lies ahead, we need to concentrate on our true selves,” she said. “We will now be able to pursue our passions on a deeper level.”

Burkhardt chose the famous line from the film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.”

Burkhardt spoke about how in the blink of an eye, school flew by.

“Ferris’ quote holds true to the class of 2015 and our 13-year journey,” he said.

Burkhardt recalled specific challenges from high school that each grade presented.

“As freshmen, we had to make adjustments,” he said. “We were trying to find our way.”

In the end, Burkhardt said life did move pretty fast for the senior class.

“Here’s to not missing a thing,” he said.

Andalusia City Schools Superintendent Ted Watson said while time doesn’t slow down, you still have to move forward.

“I’m anxious to see you guys move forward,” he said.

Watson praised the class for its achievements, including earning $2.3 million in scholarships and accumulating more than 4,000 community service hours.

“If indeed the future is our kids, then the future is very bright indeed,” Watson said.

Before diplomas were given, Andalusia Middle School Football Coach Tommy Wright was recognized for his 32 years of service to the school system and for his upcoming retirement.

Additionally, AHS Boys Basketball Coach Richard Robertson was recognized for his 50 years of service to the school.

“He’s not retiring,” AHS Principal Dr. Daniel Shakespeare told the standing crowd.