JACKSONVILLE — Be extraordinary.
Keep yourself open to opportunities presented to you in life.
Parting words from one classmate to another during the 2014 Jacksonville High School commencement held Friday at the Tomato Bowl.
“Today's the day we all have been counting down the days for, some of us since freshman year,” said Valedictorian Kelly Cook. “For some of us, this might be the happiest day of our lives; for others, there might have been a tear or two shed. Whether we're looking forward to the future or looking back on the past, let's all enjoy the present, surrounded by the classmates we have spent the last 4 years with, because this moment only happens once.”
Thanking both the JISD community, as well as the greater one, for “being the village that raised each and every one of us,” Cook reminded her classmates “we are who we are because of these people.”
“Today's the day we start to become who we are meant to be. Go out into the real world and be extraordinary,” she said. “Be extraordinary by changing people's lives. Be extraordinary by working hard and reaching your full potential. Be extraordinary by living a life you love. Be extraordinary by being yourself.
“And always remember that by being yourself you give something to the world that was not there before,” Cook added.
The Tomato Bowl stands were packed with proud, cheering family, friends and visitors as 241 graduates received their diplomas.
Salutatorian Brackston McKnight reminded his fellow classmates “what we did here was important, but what we do next will help us represent the high school and Jacksonville.
“Whether we plan to college, graduate school, join the military or the workforce, each of us must take our experiences from here,” he said. “We're beginning the next chapter.”