At the 41st annual Bassett High School commencement exercises on Friday, May 24, members of the Class of 2019 were urged to celebrate their bloopers and follow their fears — and their dreams.
Student speakers were Kristin M. Hodges on “Celebrate Your Bloopers” and Francisco J. Garcia-Zepeta on “Follow Your Fears.” Their topics reflected the senior quote by Grace Helbig, which reads, “The only thing you can do in this life is pursue your passions, celebrate your bloopers, and never stop following your fear.”
Hodges noted that bloopers “are fun if we will only learn to celebrate — maybe even learn from them.”
Mistakes often are hard to accept but “when you get to the point in your life when you can move past the failures and manage to grow stronger from them, you are a much stronger person,” she said.
She urged fellow graduates to swallow their pride, admit they erred and move forward, learning from their mistakes to avoid repeating them.
“Failures can be great ways to discover new paths,” Hodges said. “Your plans for the future are looking bright right now, but you probably won’t follow the exact path you thought you would. However, in those off-course experiences, you will hopefully stumble upon passions and people that you come to love.”
Garcia-Zepeta told the audience that there are two kinds of fear: one where a project is due that day and you haven’t started it, or when you have to present that project despite an intense dread of speaking in front of people.
“… The other, however, involves having that dream in your life — you know the one — it’s the part of you that sometimes gets shoved back because you just don’t think you have it in you to make it happen so you decide to go with something much safer,” he said.
That may be the easier choice but “it can never bring you all that life has to offer,” he added.
Garcia said of his classmates: “Every blue graduation gown on this field is filled with a person who looked fear in the eye and said, ‘I will’ instead of ‘I can’t,’” whether it was in mastering a musical instrument, on a sports field or participating in national level competitions.”
All those fears have brought the students to graduation “and those same fears will lead us, as Buzz Lightyear would say, ‘to infinity and beyond,’” Garcia added.
Class president Ashtyn Grace Gammons welcomed the graduates and their family members and friends and also presented the class gift. She praised the Bassett teachers and administrators and the graduates’ parents, and told her classmates:
“As we all go our separate ways going into a new season of our life, always remember the place you have called home for the past four years,” Gammons said.
Other class officers are Myiah Knyvonnea-Alexius Jean Terry, vice president, and Syndey Nicole Clark and Erin Elizabeth Nelson, historians.
Also taking part in the commencement program were the Concert Band, JROTC Color Guard and BHS Choral Ensemble. Dylan M. Cassell gave a choral tribute entitled “You’re Gonna Miss This.”
Diplomas were awarded by School Superintendent Sandy Strayer; Principal Tiffany Gravey; and assistant principals Joshua Bocock, Antonio Hairston and Duane Whittaker.
Honor graduates were: James Phillip Anglin, Carroll Henry Armfield, Victoria Lee Barnhart, Caleb Elijah Belcher, Cameron Layne Blankenship, Ceirra Noelle Clark, Sydney Nicole Clark, Ke’arie Niyae Clemmons, Carlee Janeise Cockram, Majen Raye Collins, Kyeem Rashaad Dicks, Kaitlyn Brianna Edwards, Mitchell Alexander Edwards, Samantha Danielle Edwards, Steele Ashley Foley, Ashtyn Grace Gammons, Kendra Monique Gilbert, Taylor Renee Hancock, Christopher Ross Harper, Anna Elizabeth Hatchett, Cameron Blake Haynes, Jasmine Kathleen Hayzlett, Cara Elyse Helbert, Hunter Rece Hiatt, Kristin Marie Hodges, Cameron Trae Hooker, Christopher Robert Hummer, Benjamin Thomas Hylton, Cataesha Alexis Lye Jamison, Seth Alan Janey, Ty Alexander Johnson, James William Joyce, Hailey Nicole Kancherla, Abigail Elizabeth Laine, Olivia Leigh Manns, Taylor Leigh Manns, Brooklyn Markel Martin, Kaitlyn Nicole Martin, Landon Christian Martin, Addison Marie Merricks, Jessica Ann Miller, Victoria Ann Mitchem, Micah Nehemiah Montgomery, Seth Wayne Moore, Erin Elizabeth Nelson, Destiny Michelle Nemes, Monica Joanna Olamendi Portugal, Sergio Zarate Pacheco, Rebecka Ailyn Perez, Virginia Marie Philpott, Shaprille Tayliyous Preston, Megan Nicole Price, Ashley Sophia Quezada, Logan Dean Quinn, Jimmy Wayne Rea, Sierra Bree-Ann Reeves, Haley Lynne Riggs, Cooper Daniel Robertson, Emily Grace Sechrist, Tristan Daniel Shelton, Thomas Wayne Shively, Dylan Cole Sigmon, Lezlie Rose Stein, Elizabeth Cheyenne Stone, Samantha Faith Upchurch, Taylor Brooke Vaught and Austin Ray Witcher.