Southampton Academy bids farewell to the Class of ‘16

Published 10:18 am Saturday, May 28, 2016

Class President Harrison Pope as he and his peers march out of the ceremony. -- SUBMITTED

Class President Harrison Pope as he and his peers march out of the ceremony. — SUBMITTED

Southampton Academy said goodbye to 22 Raiders at its 2016 graduation commencement on Thursday.

The graduates were seen off by a crowd of friends, family, fellow alumni and the faculty and staff. Headmaster W. Scott Wasdin lauded the seniors for their many scholastic achievements — including the amount of scholarships the graduating body had been awarded. He presented certificates to each honors student, nine in total.

Judge Westbrook Parker gave the keynote address.

“Tomorrow,” he said, “is the very first day of your life. Now that you’ve graduated, you will be told to race through life trying to collect the most money bags or get the most points.

“I read obituaries every day — mostly to make sure that I’m not in there,” Parker continued. “And I’ve never read an obituary that says, ‘John Smith died at the age of 75 with 180 points.’ Life is not about points. You should enjoy the journey on which you about to embark. You are smart and creative. You’ve proven that. Use these talents and you will change the world.”

Parker’s address was followed by a speech from class valedictorian, Morgan Garris.

“As a class we’ve always had love and support for one another,” Garris said. “But everything ends. An ending to me symbolizes a shut door with no going back. But this goodbye is not a shut door. It is a door we have worked hard to walk through, and we can look back and be proud that we’ve gone through it. This isn’t the end, it’s the beginning.”

Class president Harrison Pope then announced the graduating class’ gift to the school, asking that the money left in the class’ treasury to be used to procure a new sound system for the school gymnasium.

After the graduates were awarded with their diplomas, Robbie Bryant, a member of the Southampton Academy Board of Directors, inducted them into the Southampton Academy Alumni Association. He instructed them “to keep Southampton Academy in your hearts. There is a support system here for you that will last forever.”