Hillside High grads prepared for success

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 02:56 PM

Hillside High School valedictorian Daria Robinson, a standout on the school’s volleyball team, gave fellow graduates a lesson Thursday in the game she will soon play at the University of Delaware.
But Robinson’s explanation of the game’s fundamental concepts – pass, set and attack – was tailored for the world she and the more than 280 graduates of the Class of 2014 entered after turning their tassels at the end of their commencement exercise at Cameron Indoor Stadium on the Duke University campus.
Robinson explained that the game starts with a pass, and that after passing, you must be prepared for any ball that comes your way.
“Just like in life you have to prepare yourself for the cards that you are dealt, whether they are expected or unexpected,” Robinson said. “You have to keep yourself afloat. Be persistent in you effort to exploit all events that life presents because hard work truly pays off. I can attest to that.”
Robinson said the set is the next concept and is the preparation for the attack. It is accomplished with the help of someone else.
“Don’t be afraid to use your resources,” Robinson said. “Get to know people, network, build relationships. After all, you can’t do life alone.”
Robinson said the attack comes last and is not possible without the pass and the set.
“So be prepared for what life throws at you,” Robinson said. “Always, always put forth your best effort and don’t be afraid to ask for help.” 
Hillside’s morning graduation took on a festive mood, with hundreds of family members and friends giving shout-outs and waving banners in support of their favorite graduates.
When the last graduate’s name was called, the celebratory shouts, for a brief moment, rivaled the raucousness of the Cameron Crazies during a Duke men’s basketball game.
Imari McLean, the student body president, said there are people in the community who don’t hold Hillside students in high regard, a sentiment shared by almost all of Thursday’s graduation speakers.
“See, we’ve been talked about,” McLean said. “And, oh, we’ve been criticized. And I know we’ve wiped many tears from our eyes. But, Class of 2014, I’m so proud that we held on and we did it.”
Principal William Logan noted that the graduates had won more than $8.6 million in scholarships and he rattled off a long list of academic, athletic and artistic achievements by the Class of 2014.
“For whatever reason, when I came to Hillside in February 2012, it was this class that embraced me and it was this class that I latched onto and it was an honor and a privilege to serve you for the past two-and-a-half years,” Logan said. “You all are probably the most committed, dedicated and courageous students that I have met in my 17 years of working in public education and I commend you for it.”
Graduate Kayla Tate shared a poem titled “2014” that received thunderous applause from fellow graduates and those attending the ceremony.
At the conclusion of the graduation exercise, Adam Brandon, 18, was looking forward.
Brandon will be attending St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh in the fall to study chemical engineering.
“I’ll miss it, but I’m glad it’s over,” Brandon said of his DPS career. “The experience of 12 years of school and seeing the same faces every day, it’s time to go.”
And Rysden Dunn, 17, is off to N.C. A&T State University to study nursing in the fall.
“I’m excited and ready to have fun tonight and make some memories,” Dunn said.