Seaford High School celebrates the Class of 2017
By Scott Bleile
'I am so proud to be the principal of Seaford High School,' exclaimed Terry Carson as she opened Seaford High School's graduation ceremony on Friday, June 9. 'I am proud to be here tonight to see the Class of 2017 graduate. These young men and women have worked hard for the past four years and tonight we celebrate their accomplishments.'
Under a clear blue evening sky, the Seaford High School graduates listened intently as district officials welcomed them and praised their work. Seaford School Board President Mike Kraft spoke to the graduates. 'Congratulations on a job well done. As students, you enter high school with a desire to learn. You grew socially, were players of our athletic fields, on our stages, in the band and your accomplishments have graced the pages of our local newspaper. You are now ready to take on the world. I say well done! Never stop sharing the knowledge you have gained as a student at Seaford High School or building your character.'
'You made it,' said Seaford Superintendent David Perrington. 'It took you 13 years, but you made it. I am always in awe of graduation night. It is the completion of a long journey, a night you will always remember. New starts and new beginnings will be facing you after you leave here tonight. Always pursue your dreams. Remember, work bridges the gap between dreams and reality. Celebrate tonight, be proud of what you have done.
Intelligence rises, creativity rises; what will you do with one lifetime? What will the future hold for you? Look forward to the future. It is determined by what you do. You need support. It is better to be supported than go it alone. Look around this stadium, and you will see your support. You all have promise. We are proud of you! Congratulations.'
Hannah Doyle and Abby Pearson, co-class presidents reminisced about their journey through school. 'Since this will be the last time we are together as a class Abby and I want to take a class selfie,' said Doyle, as she and Pearson took a selfie with their classmates. 'When we took our first steps toward graduation, we all thought that it was a world away,' Pearson said. 'We started off in elementary school, followed by middle school,' stated Doyle. 'These were the awkward years with braces and keeping up with all the modern trends, playing sports and the eighth grade male beauty contest was crazy.'
Pearson reminded the class about their first day of school. 'Our parents always told us to enjoy high school because it would go by so fast. As a 14-year-old, I thought it would go by so slow and what 14-year-old doesn't know everything?' as the crowd laughed. Doyle added, 'Today is the day we can reflect on our childhood and focus on our journey ahead. It was a wonderful 13 years that we have all walked together.'
Dr. Bobbi Barends, Delaware Technical and Community College, vice-president and campus director of Owens Campus, was the keynote speaker. 'Seaford High School is full of very special individuals,' Barends told the class. 'Individuals who embrace differences, help each other succeed and are proud to be Bluejays. As I prepared my remarks for this evening, I struggled with what I could share that would adequately express my admiration for the diverse culture that you have in your school and provide words for you to ponder has you fly away from your Bluejay nest this evening. Many years ago I came across a slogan that I fell in love with; a slogan that can sometimes be misinterpreted or misunderstood. I have this slogan on my baseball cap while I am at the beach or working at my desk. The slogan is 'Well behaved women seldom make history,' so, before everyone gets upset with this slogan, let me explain. This is the reason I love this slogan.
'In 1976, historian and Harvard Professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, coined this phrase. In an article she wrote, about Puritan funeral services, this doesn't sound like a good read to me. The true meaning of this slogan lies in the fact that throughout history good women's lives were largely domestic, which means they worked at home. Little was recorded about them, this type of work was not considered a topic to write about or celebrate in the history books.
It is only through outrageous behavior, that women's lives broke outside the domestic sphere, it was recorded and remembered by future generations. Women like Mulan, Harriet Tubman, Anne Frank, and Oprah Winfrey, are remembered because these women decided to challenge a common type of stereotype and were successful in accomplishing great things and making history. Although this slogan is focused on women, it has broad applications. We can all fall victim to a stereotype or label. It can be a call to action to each of us to challenge the status quo and look beyond how others see us. Let me change the slogan a tad bit to 'well behaved Seaford graduates will seldom make history.' Let's be real, very few of us will make history including myself, let me change it again, 'well behaved Seaford High School graduates will seldom make a difference.' From what I already know about this amazing graduating class, I don't think we have too much to worry about. Because this class has already made a difference.'
Class valedictorian, Hannah Doyle, who will be majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in math, graduated with a 104.05 grade point average. 'In a few months, we will all be going off to college, the military or jobs and our parents will be looking forward to the extra room,' Doyle explained to the class. 'Many helped us get to this point including God, our parents, teachers and family. Our family members always asked us what we wanted to be or what we wanted to do with our lives. We have been asked this question all of our lives. Many wanted to be rock stars or pirates. I wanted to be Belle from the Beauty and the Beast. I wanted to be just as smart as she was. Belle lived in the 1700s when people were illiterate, but this did not stop Belle from reading or becoming smart. I developed a love for reading from Belle. I even had a first grade teacher take a book away because I read too much. When I got to high school I realized that others were smarter than me at certain things and that was because they were talented.
'The reason I am up here as valedictorian is not because I am smarter than everybody else, but because I worked toward my dream of being the most studious as possible and to push forward in all aspects of my life. I want all of you to live your life about not making a living but about making a life. So you can become the police officer, doctor, teacher or whatever you want to be in your life. So many have dreams, but fail to work toward them. They make excuses. Take the steps to meet your dreams. To the Class of 2017, we did it!'
In her farewell speech to the class, Carson told the class, 'Your positive energy to the Bluejay family has changed Seaford High School. Don't be sad, after today you won't have expectations to follow from the school. But, I have given each one of you a card with our expectations on it with a life translation. Keep the card and hopefully follow it in your life. I see past graduates that still have their card and take it out occasionally to read it. I appreciate the support from the parents and guardians. As principal of Seaford High School, I take personal responsibility that your child gets the best education possible. This is much more than a job to me.
'My 80-year-old Dad, who is here tonight and served in the Navy, had three pieces of advice he gave us. First, pay your bills. You don't want to owe anyone money, when you don't owe anyone then you control your life. Second, education is very important. It gives you choices. My Dad has no college degree, but he has helped pay for 10 college degrees. He made all of my siblings get degrees, period! Third, be yourself. It is much more comfortable to be yourself than to try and be someone else. Three years ago I started a tradition of giving the graduating class a song. This year's song is based on the music of Hey Jude from the Beatles. Mr. Siler helped me write the song and we will have a group of teachers and students sing it for you. Good luck and I am very proud of all of you.'
After the diplomas were given out, co-presidents Doyle and Pearson stood before their class one last time to lead them in changing their tassels. The evening ended as the Class of 2017 threw their caps in the air and as Valedictorian Doyle stated, 'Take the steps needed to achieve your dreams.'
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