SHS 138th Commencement

SHS 138th Commencement
Posted on 06/13/2013
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Salem High School graduates 74 during 138th Commencement

By Michael Williams/South Jersey Times 
June 12, 2013
SALEM — Preparing to make the procession out into their school’s auditorium, Salem High school seniors said their graduation day brought mixed emotions: Happiness and pride to conquer the milestone of high school, but also sadness over the closing of one of life’s chapters.

“I’m happy because I made it, but sad that my grandpop passed before he could see me graduate,” said graduate Miche’al McGuire. “I’m happy, sad, nervous, excited. It’s just a blessing.”

Salem High School graduated 74 seniors on Tuesday in the school’s auditorium while family, friends and loved ones proudly looked on during the 138th Annual Commencement ceremony.

The Class of 2013 proceeded into the room dressed in caps and gowns of traditional school colors — girls in white, boys in blue — facing staff, teachers and the audience for the last time as high school students.

“It’s awesome. I can’t believe it,” said graduate Daja Roberson.

“I didn’t think I could do it,” said graduate Rahkeem Smith. “I just wanted to make my family and my mom proud.”

During the ceremony, select seniors read essays they prepared, reflecting on their time as students and the futures that lay before them.

Graduate Chelsi Slaughter touched on how the class had grown and matured over the years, and her excitement for the future.

“We can all say that we are not the same people we were walking through those doors a few years ago, and honestly, I am thankful that we are not,” Slaughter said. “Who we have become are young adults ready for the world. Whether it is ready for us or not is a completely different story.”

Slaughter’s twin sister Briana also graduated on Tuesday. Their mother, Gail Slaughter, said she couldn’t be prouder of daughters.

“I’m excited and sad at the same time. And I’m relieved that I don’t have to get them up in the morning anymore,” Gail Slaughter joked. “I’m proud. I’m very, very proud.”

Also reading an essay during the ceremony was graduate Malyk Green, who compared high school to climbing a hill, but told his fellow graduates that the rest of life would be like conquering a mountain. He thanked the class’ families for their support, but warned that the road to success will only get more difficult going forward.

“Earning a high school diploma is only a stepping stone in the road to our success. I ask our graduates, please don’t stop here; so many doors are now open for you,” Green said. “Take what your teachers or peers taught you throughout your four years in high school and use it out in the real world.”

The final speaker for the class, Devon Suiter, described the Class of 2013 as a “unique cast of characters,” each growing and learning their roles and lines throughout high school. For the cast, graduation was the final curtain call, Suiter said.

“And now, finally, the production is over. Some acts went off exactly as rehearsed. In others, we needed to improvise,” Suiter said. “Many times we wondered how it would ever work, but somehow we pulled it off. We performed to the best of our abilities as a cast and as individuals.”

High school principal Dr. Gregory Dunham presented this year’s awards and scholarships, but not before passing on some final advice to his seniors — and telling one his trademark stories about an old mule and its will to persevere.

“No matter what happens, you have to step up and keep going,” Dunham told the class.

After all awards and scholarships were announced, it was finally time for Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel to officially present the Salem High School Class of 2013 to applause and cheers from all those in attendance.

Then one by one, each of the graduates were awarded their diplomas by Board of Education President Yuenge Gross. The Salem High School Band performed the school’s alma mater and — almost as quickly as senior year passed — the ceremony was over.