POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE: Grads urged to keep moving forward, make AHS proud [with gallery]

Published 1:22 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

Andalusia High School graduates were encouraged to think of lives to date only as the introduction to the books of their lives, and to keep moving forward, no matter what happens.

Salutatorian Calista Blair Fillmer recalled the class history, beginning in the yellow hall (kindergarten) at Andalusia Elementary.

“After what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to the high school,” she said. “We learned that Andalusia High is rich in tradition, with homecoming activities, Pride Day, class yells, and the Alma Mater.”

The class also learned that time passes quickly, she said.

“Everyone told us that high school goes by fast, but because we are teenagers, we didn’t believe them,” she said. “The only way I can describe senior year is with a quote by Coach Rob, ‘It ain’t braggin’ if you done it,’ and ‘done it’ we did. We dominated the fields and courts in every single sport we played and blew away the crowd at every band performance.”

She also reminded her classmates to keep moving.

“Remember that past made you who you are today, and keep moving forward to the person you will become tomorrow,” she said.

Valedictorian Tyler Reid Garvin told his classmates they have only just begun.

“While some may say that graduation is the end of one book and the beginning of another, I say that we have not even made it to chapter one of the first book,” he said. “Today marks the beginning of our novel.”

He encouraged them to start their novels with three chapters: Fear Not; Seize the Day; and Determine Your Own Success.

“”While the world may have experience in knocking people down and crushing dreams, I has not seen us yet,” he said “We are Bulldogs; we know what it is like to stand tall even after being at the bottom, and how to have heart in the midst of a dark situation.”

“With high school behind us, God by our side, and a bright future ahead, it is all up to us now,” he said. “Our introduction has been written. Now it is time for us to finish our story.”

The AHS Class of 2017 included 54 seniors who earned the Alabama High School Diploma with Honors; 37 members of the National Honor Society; seven cum laude graduates; 20 magna cum laude graduates; 13 summa cum laude graduates; and one National Merit finalist. Sixty earned scholarships totaling a collective $3.1 million.