50 seniors graduate from Lanett Friday night
LANETT — A total of 50 Lanett High seniors received their diplomas Friday evening inside the school auditorium. The ceremony is normally on the field at Morgan-Washburn Stadium, but was moved indoors due to the possibility of rain.
The ceremony culminated an exceptional year for LHS. Parents, alumni, and Lanett sports fans loved the state championships in football and boys basketball, but in matters more than that is that many of these seniors will be moving on to post-secondary educations. Members of this year’s senior class received over $2.6 million in written scholarship offers.
Salutatorian Zekera Watts and Valedictorian Jaren Ross made most impressive addresses to their classmates, school officials and an auditorium filled to near capacity.
Watts said that there are three keys to success in life: (1) always putting God first, (2) do the little things first so you can do the big things later, and (3) No matter what happens, keep standing.
“Persistence will keep you going,” she said. “It’s not the first date or the last date on your tombstone that matters; it’s the dash that’s in between. That’s how you lived your life.”
Ross received over $700,000 in scholarship offers. He will be attending Miles College in Birmingham with a goal of going to graduate school at UAB.
“I give God the most praise for my position in life and for the people who are a part of it,” he said. “I am thankful for my loving parents who spent countless hours, days and months working multiple jobs to support me throughout my childhood. To my brilliant aunt, who played a great role in my life as an educational advisor and a college guidance counselor, thank you. My grandmother, a retired educator, is the wisdom behind my knowledge, and I am super thankful for her.”
Ross thanked educators and community leaders for the vital role they played in providing him an abundance of knowledge.
“I am grateful for the coaches that instilled positive qualities in me such as teamwork and perseverance, Finally to my classmates, thank you for your amazing friendship and personalities. Graduating without you guys would be boring because you made high school one of the greatest times of my life.”
“The Class of 2018 contains some of the most talented people in the community as well as the school,” Ross said. Whether it is successfully building a robot, helping and improving your community around us, or possessing a unique talent, each one of you will make a special mark on this world. As we take this leap into a new chapter of our lives, we will need to utilize our assets to become successful at whatever we dream to accomplish.”
“Everything that you want out of life won’t come in a blink of an eye,” Ross continued. “Success is not like the quick 4-for-$4 you get from Wendy’s. Success is like the growth of an oak tree: it takes years to come to fruition. Maintaining your success presents greater difficulty than reaching success.”
“Reach for the stars,” he added, “because the bottom is overcrowded, and too many people say that the sky is the limit. Thank you for the unforgettable experience and memories over the past four years.”
Ross brought down the house with his last comment: “Champ High, we are outta here!”
Superintendent Phillip Johnson presented each student with their diploma. When they were all seated after receiving them Johnson confirmed that each one was an alumnus of Lanett High. “You may now move your tassels,” he said.
The program concluded with prayer and the students singing the alma mater. The it was a madhouse with whooping and hollering and caps going everywhere.
When they collected themselves, the students filed out of the auditorium into the lobby, where there was much hugging, some tears and picture taking. Lots of folks had photos taken of he recent graduate with the humongous state championship photo in the background.