LaFayette High School graduates 2021 senior class

Published 7:30 am Thursday, May 27, 2021

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On Tuesday, 62 LaFayette High School students received their high school diplomas, capping off their high school careers on the school’s football field.

According to Kaprice Smith, who was the 2020-21 LaFayette Teacher of the Year, the class received more than $11 million in scholarships.

The class also honored two classmates that died suddenly in car wrecks since the start of their junior year. Desmond Brooks died in May of 2020, while Beyoncé Crook died in April.

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“Desmond and Beyoncé, we didn’t forget about y’all,” Latraious Thomas said. “We love y’all and continue to watch over us.”

Along with her classmates talking about her in their speeches, Crook’s name was read during the presentation of diplomas.

Two students were chosen to make class addresses.

In his speech to the class, Thomas spoke about some of the memories that he had from high school, the excitement of the present and challenged his classmates to build the best future possible.

“While I say that I am happy about leaving high school, I must admit that I am sad about leaving the people that I have made tons of memories with the last four years,” Thomas said. “I have to admit that I am as nervous as I was the first day I walked into LaFayette High School… Presently, we have reached the end of our time as school-aged kids. I don’t know if you realize who’s presence that you are in, but you are looking at future nurses, educators, trucking company owners, entrepreneurs and members of the armed forces. We can turn a YouTube channel into $1 million. We can turn a TikTok into a whole brand. You better believe that we can turn our diploma into the future of our dreams.

“Speaking of the future, let’s be great. Encourage each other to do the right thing. Surround yourself with positive people doing positive things, because trouble is easy to get into but it is so hard to get out of. You might slip and fall but remember to tell yourself ‘I have to get back up.’ You might have some good days and some bad days, but keep pressing on. You have to stay motivated to reach your dreams because it doesn’t get easier, it only gets harder. Always put God first in everything that you do, and everything will fall into place.”

No. 1 student Vakiya Story spoke about the class’s competitive nature and the fact that the class was always trying to have the best time possible.

Story also spoke about the class’s perseverance dealing with COVID-19 and the loss of two classmates.

“I always knew our class was strong, but as the saying goes ‘you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option,’” Story said. “Never in a million years would we have thought that we would have had to prepare not one but two candlelight vigils in honor of our two classmates. Through it all, we persevered. We kept going. We were resilient. So I say to my classmates, keep being strong and keep persevering because it will get better. I’m so proud of us as a class. We’ve overcome every obstacle and proven every stereotype wrong. I encourage all of you to keep going. When you feel like giving up, remember the good times and keep going. You all are more than capable to be what you desire to be. You become what you believe.”