Orange grads told failure is not an end but a new beginning

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 10:24 PM

Orange High School graduates were reminded that failure is not the end but another beginning.
The Dean E. Smith Center at UNC Chapel Hill was dominated by orange and black Thursday afternoon as it welcomed the almost 300 graduates of Orange High School. Some family and friends even wore the school’s colors to show that extra bit of support for graduates.
Orange High Principal Jason Johnson welcomed everyone to the high school’s commencement ceremony but also took a moment to recognize teachers and veterans for their work and contributions.
“If not for you (teachers), they (students) wouldn’t be here,” he said. “You are important.”
To his soon to be former students, Johnson said, “it’s not over.”
“Keep going because it’s not over,” he said. “You should be very proud of your accomplishments because you are part of a great alumni group. I love you and I’m proud of you.”
Student Government Association President Kaitlyn Rose Dobbins reminded her classmates that failure may just mean another route to success.
“’Failure is not an option’ is probably one of the worse lies ever told in our education system,” Dobbins said. “We’ve all felt failure’s sting. No one is perfect. Failure is part of our human nature. Failure opens the doorway to success.
“Accept failure because you did try,” she said. “Success is the light to your failure.”
Orange County Schools board chair Donna Coffey said that the steps the graduates take across the stage will take them beyond their diplomas and into their futures.
“You are the future of our community and we’re counting on you to seize the opportunities before you,” Coffey said.
Joseph Anthony Piscitelli gave two speeches, one as valedictorian and the other as senior class president. Taking the advice of his pastor, Piscitelli kept both of his speeches brief.
He advised his classmates to set goals and do the necessary work to achieve them, to treat others the way that they want to be treated and to laugh.
“You have to work for your treasure in life,” Piscitelli said. “You should never come to a point in your life when you never enjoy it.”
As valedictorian, Piscitelli suggested that his peers find something they enjoy doing and become an expert at it.
Co-valedictorian Julia Dinkins Treis looked ahead at the future that lies before her class.
“As we leave the Dean Dome today, we are no longer students but alumni,” she said. “We continue our journey as young adults. We go out into the world knowing we can become anything we want to be.  We can even change the world.
“We have left our mark at Orange,” said Treis. “Our class has done so much together but today is a day to celebrate.”