‘Ready or not, we have to face our futures’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 15, 2003


A time to exhale, laugh, cry, and wave goodbye to the incremental 12-year journey to high school graduation was realized for the 292 members of Suffolk’s Nansemond River High School Class of 2003 on Saturday.

One by one, students walked across the gymnasium floor to accept their passports into the next phase of their lives. For many of the students, this means college and for others it’s a direct plunge into the working world. Class Valedictorian Gregory Sexton perhaps said it best in his address to his fellow classmates: &uot;Ready or not, we have to face our futures.&uot;

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Sexton jokingly told the packed house that after meeting the challenge of graduating, &uot;The rest of life is easy,&uot; referencing getting a job, having a family and other responsibilities that await their adult lives. Collective sarcastic chuckles and the expressions on the faces of parents clearly reiterated that Sexton was only taking a stab at a little humor.

Many members of the graduation class will, in fact, be laughing all the way to the bank – well, to college that is with more than $730,000 in scholarships awarded.

Like a proud father, NRHS Principal Thomas McClemore told his departing family, &uot;This is an exciting day. You have worked extremely hard.&uot;

Suffolk Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Milton R. Liverman lauded the parents, teachers and other supporters of the students who made graduation day a reality. &uot;All of you can see the fruits of your labor,&uot; said Liverman. He went on to motivate the class to incorporate guiding principles in their lives to lead them to success.

&uot;Watch your thoughts because thoughts become words. Watch your words because words become action,&uot; he added. &uot;Watch your actions because actions become habits. Watch your habits because habits become character. Watch your character, because character determines your destiny.&uot;

Salutatorian John Seeley told his class, &uot;We have changed, matured and grown up. This is the beginning of our independence.&uot;

Of all the words that were spoken at Saturday’s graduation, the most memorable will likely be those of Guidance Director Deborah Williams, which were met with an outburst of applause that penetrated the entire gymnasium: &uot;I present the students who have met the academic and program objectives as prescribed by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Suffolk Public Schools…candidates for graduation in Nansemond River High School’s Class of 2003.&uot;

And for the last time, they formed a straight line, accepted their diplomas and marched off into the future to the melody of

&uot;Pomp and Circumstance.&uot;