Principal Andy Parsons said he’ll miss the class of ’09, the first group of graduates to complete all four years of high school at Heritage. He urged the students to achieve their dreams while also remembering to give back to the community.
Salutatorian Dominesse Gajudo echoed that sentiment: “Class of 2009, we started as the first freshmen to attend Heritage High School, and we are children no more. Remember those that got you to where you are today, and may you help others achieve greatness and through that selflessness, achieve your own glory. Good luck.”
Valedictorian Jacob Peterson took a more light-hearted approach when addressing his peers, urging his fellow graduates to seize the moment they worked for hard for: “Well, graduates, the day we’ve all been waiting so long for has finally arrived. We’ve reached this day with great accomplishment in our educational careers. We’ve worked countless hours to be here and we deserve every bit of recognition we are receiving today.
“You cannot even begin to imagine how proud your friends and families are of you. They absolutely love you and are overjoyed about all of your academic achievements. I would just like to point out right now it would be a great time to ask for some money.”
Class speaker Hillary Brumfield kept the humor going as she opened her speech with a quote from MTV’s reality series “Laguna Beach” before touching an emotional chord with her classmates: “As I look out at you today, I see that for once we are all the same. We all have on our blue and yellow gowns, our hats, our tassels, and today in this moment, we are all the same.
“But if I take a deeper look, if I really look at you, I see a scientist, I see an Oscar winner, I see a Grammy in your hands, and I see a Nobel Prize winner. I also see a mom, a giver, a baseball coach, a teacher and a local storeowner. When I look at you, Class of ’09, I see the future. I see success, and I see dreams.”
Brumfield went on to offer inspirational words of wisdom, quoting Ameila Earhart and Oprah Winfrey before closing her address with the lyrics from Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” rapping: “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it; you better never let it go. Ugh. You only get one shot. Do not miss you chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime!”
Once the speeches were over, it was time for the grads to finally collect their hard-earned diplomas. Parsons shook hands and hugged each of the 402 graduates that walked the stage Saturday morning, wishing his Patriots good luck one last time.
Parsons also presented retiring Liberty Union High School District Superintendent Dan Smith with a Heritage medal, marking Smith’s final graduation ceremony after 15 years of service in the district.
Click here for a complete list of 2009 graduates.