Principal Bruce Potts congratulated the Class of 2012 for living up to the “Commitment to Graduate” that they signed as freshmen and renewed as juniors when they again signed that commitment — this time in silver ink on a red SHS graduation gown.
The seniors responded with cheers and applause as Potts revealed that red gown when he removed his black academic gown before the seniors received their diplomas.
“The Class of 2012 has made an impact on me,” Potts said.
Student Council President Noah Henson asked his classmates, “When were we all at our best?” The answer Henson said, was not at the times of greatest academic, athletic or extra-curricular achievement, “We were at our best when we were helping other people…and our best is still out there.”
During their graduation dialogue, Valedictorian Hunter Pruitt and Salutatorian Jodie Mullins, recalled the historic events that had occurred since the Class of 2012 first entered school.
“Twelve years ago, the year 2000, we were just starting out,” Pruitt said. One year later the Class of 2012 witnessed the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, he said.
Mullins said the SHS Class of 2012 has seen Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, the launch of Facebook in 2004, the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and the BP oil spill in 2010.
“And now, 2012, we graduate,” Mullins said. “Our high school years have made us who we are,” Pruitt said. “These memories are gold,” Mullins added. “They shape who we are.”
Pruitt and Mullins also recalled the history of Sonoraville High School — founded in 1922, the original school burned in 1952. “Now, 60 years later, here we are,” Mullins said.
Concluding their dialogue, Pruitt related that at 211 degrees, water is hot, but at 212 degrees, it boils and creates steam.
“Our class is special” Mullins said. “We are the extra degree.” “That extra effort, that extra degree, has a huge impact,” said Pruitt. “We are the steam that can power the machine.”
“We are the extra degree,” they proclaimed in unison.
Potts commended the seniors for their successful efforts.
“Graduation takes a commitment to excellence,” he said. “That commitment can take you where faint-hearted people dare not go. That commitment will continually challenge you to set higher standards of excellence. That commitment to excellence comes from the heart.”
Potts urged the seniors to remain true to their commitment. “Our actions and deeds are witnessed by others every day,” he said.
As he prepared to award the diplomas, Gordon County School Superintendent Bill McCown, praised the seniors.
“There’s a swagger about Sonoraville. There’s a family called Sonoraville,” McCown said. “Nobody does it like Sonoraville.”
McCown and County School Board Chairman William Tyner presented the diplomas to the 233 graduates, each of whom handed Potts a pencil as they shook his hand.
In a brief farewell to the Class of 2012, Layson West, student council vice president, said, “All of our experiences have taught us a lesson. We learned to find patience we did not know we had.”
As the evening’s ceremonies drew to a close, West urged his classmates to “remember the motto of the FFA: Learning to do, Doing to learn, Earning to live, living to serve.”