Finis Horne Arena swelled with Eagle pride as more than 300 Greenwood High School graduates walked across the stage for their diplomas Friday.
The crowd had a moment of silence for classmate J.J. Anderson, who was fatally shot in March.
Alfred Andrews III, a graduate and student scholar, reflected on the past four years at the high school.
“If you’ve ever been sent to the office by a teacher who knows good and well who you are for not wearing an ID, you might be an Eagle,” Andrews said. “If you have no idea where your locker is, you might be an Eagle.”
Andrews poked fun at the school’s rival, Emerald High School, whose graduation was just three hours earlier.
“If you know that a bad day as an Eagle is better than any good day as a Viking, you might be an Eagle,” Andrews said.
Valedictorian Adeline Orcutt told the students to embrace life’s changes, but also to take her advice with a grain of salt, since she’s at the same point in life as the rest of them.
“I hope you let life change and let life change you,” Orcutt said. “I probably shouldn’t be saying anything at all because I am you, I’m not qualified to give you this kind of advice. We are in the same boat, and I am terrified of this boat, but I’m also really excited about it.”
She encouraged the students to follow the Golden Rule and to make new rules.
“I hope that our class will break some rules and re-shape them into better ones,” Orcutt said.
Salutatorian Amaan Monda told the graduates they could all achieve greatness, and senior class president Julia Maynard reflected on how quickly their high school years went by. student body president Carrie Rust thanked the staff at the school for everything they had done for the students and said each teacher left a heart print on them.
Cynthia Gatchell said it feels great to finally walk across the stage. In the fall, she’ll attend Lander University to study nursing.
“It feels like accomplishment,” Gatchell said. “And even though they tried to put me down — all these people — I made it.”
Miriam Ramos Jaime, who came to the United States when she was 2 and is a DACA recipient, said she’s not sure what the future holds.
“I’m very excited and very nervous,” Jaime said.