CHHS: Roaring into the real world

Jun. 14, 2014 @ 04:31 PM

Amid a flurry of beach balls, cheers and even a pink blow-up dolphin, 277 students at Chapel Hill High School received their diplomas at the Dean E. Smith Center at the University of North Carolina.

Graduates were presented life lessons from Duke Ellington, Niccolo Machiavelli and even Kanye West as they prepared for the next stage of their journeys

In total, 11 speakers helped the students celebrate the big day — from the student body president to the elected class speaker, Each took his or her own spin on the opportunity to speak.

Student body President, Xiao-song Wang, asked the Class of 2014 why they were all there in their Professor Dumbledore-like robes and sashes.

“We are here to celebrate your growth,” Wang said. “How we’ve matured in the last four years. We can all confidently say that we were smarter people than we were.”

He urged his peers to take the moments and relationships that they’ve made over the years and celebrate those as they continue on in their lives.

Marlow Durbin was elected by his peers at CHHS to speak at graduation. He harkened back to how four years ago their lives were completely different.

“So much has evolved in just four years,” he said. “Back in 2010 there was no such thing as a front-facing camera ... those were the dark ages.”

He acknowledged the hard work of the teachers that have helped the students along their way.

“Let’s remember what we’ve accomplished along the way (to graduation),” he said. “Thanks to all of you for an incredible four years.”

The sentiment from all of the speakers was the growth and support students had over the years because of their education at CHHS.

Stephanie Peres-da-Silva reminded her peers they don’t need luck to make their lives successful.

“If you can make it four years at Chapel Hill High School, you can make it anywhere,” she said.

Frances Reuland reminded students that their education was something to be remembered as “roses despite the thorns.”

As the speeches ended and the diplomas were given, graduates were congratulated with rounds of cheers form friends and family members in the stands at Smith Center. Balloons and flowers were handed out and principal Sulura Jackson offered her kudos. 

“Over the past four years you have worked and studied; practiced and played,” she said. “Now you are here ready to begin your lives as members of your own community. Whatever course you begin to take it, it is my sincere goal that you will look back at your years at Chapel Hill High as having prepared you to meet any unique challenge that life my bring forward.”

She told graduates as they prepare to say good-bye to their high school, they will look forward and greet their new opportunities.

“Grab hold of that tomorrow, and using what you have learned ... and build a bright and shining future.”