NRHS seniors relish their history

Published 6:47 pm Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Class of 2009 has seen some of modern America’s most historic events — the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the invasion of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and the election of the nation’s first black president.

On the other hand, it has also witnessed the rise of MySpace and Facebook, the popularity of “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and Star Wars, along with myriad other icons of popular culture, all of which have combined to shape the class’ identity.

On balance, Nansemond River High School Salutatorian Daria Godunova told her classmates during a speech at the school’s graduation ceremony on Saturday, “There’s not a class I’d rather graduate with.”

Email newsletter signup

Godunova and 283 classmates were at the school ahead of a strong thunderstorm Saturday afternoon, emerging to clearing skies following the ceremony.

Many of those who came to watch them receive their diplomas were not so lucky, forced to hurry into the facility under pouring rain.

“The sun will not always shine, and the rain will come crashing down,” Valedictorian Suzanna Stuckey appropriately observed during her own remarks, adding that the future of the class of 2009 “lies only within you.”

Stuckey thanked her teachers for their influence on her life and told those attending the event that those teachers were the inspiration for her goal to enter the educational field.

Principal Thomas W. McLemore Jr., however, told the graduates, “You have taught me more than I’ve taught you.”

In an emotional speech, McLemore recalled seeing his office filled with balloons recently and finding that each balloon contained a personal message from a student.

“I hope that all your dreams come true, and you will have a long and happy life,” he told them in parting.

He also had a few words for the parents in attendance on Saturday: “They will always be your children, and you must always be there to help them.”