Pilot Point’s class of 2015 basked in their last few minutes of high school glory before being sent off by the staff, faculty and administration during the graduation ceremony Friday, June 5, at Denton Bible Church.
In the short-but-sweet ceremony, speakers addressed the past successes of the class and looked forward to the challenges to come. In lieu of further speeches, the ceremony showcased songs performed by seniors Harmony Tetmeyer and Jonathan Gosnell. They performed songs separately during the event, both to a standing ovation.
Pilot Point valedictorian Jalyn Marick started off his speech with the motto the class adopted earlier in the year from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “What lies behind us and lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
He drew from inspirational speeches given by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Captain Jack Sparrow, of all people, to push his point of cleverness and kindness across to his fellow graduates.
“I would say Pilot Point exudes both of these ideas, cleverness and kindness,” he said. “We have talent. We have skill. We have brains. Those are gifts for the most part. However, kindness is something that is taught and is a choice. I’ve seen numerous acts of kindness in our halls, in our fields and in our community.
“Our community is filled with some of the kindest people you’ll meet. If you don’t believe me, wait until you leave.”
Marick pointed out that all people will have power in their lifetime, the power of choice. As the class prepared to take the stage and receive their diplomas, he issued a challenge to all of his classmates.
“The question we need to ask ourselves is, ‘are we prepared for this challenge and this freedom?’ The ability to make choices is powerful,” he said. “We are Bearcats. We will take a little piece of Pilot Point wherever we go. Expect to work hard, to make good choices and to be kind.”
If Marick’s speech was meant to look towards the future and challenge the class of 2015, salutatorian Allison Ray took a few moments to reflect on the successes of the people she’s shared her school years with.
As an athlete, Ray said it was only appropriate to use the analogy of a game to walk the audience through all the class has been through together — the first quarter, elementary, then middle school, high school and onward.
Students from the crowd cheered and laughed as Ray pointed out some of the not-so-bright moments of their high school career, and poked fun at some of their shortcomings.
“For some of you this might be the most you’ve heard me talk and for others it’s probably the loudest,” Ray said with the hint of a smile.
Ray recounted all of the highlights, from youth sports to classroom antics, and also took a moment to remember Justin Lock, a classmate who was killed in a vehicle accident in 2005. The graduates wore purple ribbons to remember their classmate.
She had apparently done her research too. After compiling the successes of her classmates over the past four years, Ray came up with a number that represented all they had accomplished during their time together.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve been asking around with faculty members to help me with my speech and incorporate the majority of my class by finding a number,” Ray said. “This number defines our class successes as a whole over the past four years. That number is roughly around 940.”
The ceremony couldn’t end in simple reflection, though. Ray summed up all of their accomplishments by saying that all they do is point toward the future.
“These wins and academic successes not only defined our achievements during high school but also foreshadowed the greatness to come,” she said. “Don’t lose sight of the present and don’t forget your past. We have a special bond in common. We are graduates from Pilot Point.”