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Rashad Milligan | Times-News REFLECTING: A Valley graduate gets teary-eyed during No. 1 student Ariton Bailey’s speech on Monday night.

Excitement fills packed Ram Stadium to watch VHS graduation

VALLEY — It was a night of excitement that couldn’t be tamed.

Friends and family of the Class of 2019 graduates filled Ram Stadium to celebrate the accomplishments of the newest group of Valley High School alumni.

“This celebration is all about you,” Valley High School principal Sherry Ashe said. “Your family, teachers, counselors, friends and I are all excited and extremely proud of you.”

The Valley High School band welcomed the graduates and faculty into the stadium with a selection before Brheady Power led the Pledge of Allegiance and Andrew McCants sang the national anthem.

Valley’s No. 1 student Ariton Bailey then addressed his class, opening up with humor by congratulating all of his classmates that they were no longer legally obligated to attend school. Bailey then reflected on how his high school experience will help him in life moving forward.

“If there’s one thing that I learned in high school, it’s that the hard times are temporary, and they make the good times that much sweeter,” Bailey said. “We’ve all had hard times. For me, it was sophomore year, I thought chemistry would be the death of me, but here I am alive. Sophomore year really allowed me to take in and enjoy junior and senior year to see just how amazing they are. The hard times allowed me to understand and cherish the moment.”

Miss VHS Devin McGlon followed up Bailey by giving the students some memories beginning in 2006 when the class entered kindergarten. She reminded the graduates of memories like trying to use a petition to fire a substitute teacher, and being surprised by having a written P.E. test.

“We’ve made it to the time that we have anxiously waited for since freshman year,” McGlon said as she grew emotional on stage. “This is the time that each one of us has worked so hard to reach. It was never easy, and there were many times where we felt like we would not make it to the finish line. The struggles, however, only made this accomplishment greater.”

Mr. VHS Daniel Etherton then spoke and memories that a lot of the athletes could relate to like seeing a lot of coaching changes, and the one football game where he forgot to put on his helmet before running onto the field.

Ashe then presented the diplomas to the class as the crowd gave a rousing standing ovation.