FULTON — The G. Ray Bodley High School graduating senior class, along with family members and educators, gathered at the Fulton Community Center on Saturday for the 2019 graduation ceremony, which educators touted as “a special moment in history” for the students.
Educators praised the graduating class, which featured 244 diploma candidates, saying the event symbolizes moment of celebration and serves as a culmination of their hard work.
“This is a special moment in history as we come together to celebrate your hard work and dedication not only the past four years, but also the nine previous years,” Fulton City School District Superintendent Brian Pulvino said. “This is 13 years of hard work. The experiences you had at school, at home in the community and all phases of your life contribute to you being here this morning.”
Pulvino emphasized the important role parents and guardians play in students’ lives.
“To our parents and guardians, I want to thank you for the countless rides, participation at events and for affording us the opportunity to work with your amazing children and our students,” the superintendent said.
Elizabeth Kent, a social studies teacher who acted as the representative for the high school’s teaching staff, joined Pulvino in recognizing parents’ efforts.
“Your family has sacrificed a lot to ensure you made it to this point today and they deserve this moment to be recognized,” she said.
Kent also reflected on the work teachers do in paving the way to graduation for the students.
“I am proud to be representing the G. Ray Bodley teaching staff tonight,” Kent said. “I work side by side with some of my best friends, people who push me to be a better teacher and a better person every single day. These people are role models for all of our students and take their job very seriously. They too deserve recognition.”
Out of the 244 graduation candidates, 75 of them were awarded the “high honor graduates” distinction, which is given to students who achieved a four-year average of 89.5 or above for seven and a half semesters. District officials also granted 52 students with the “honor graduates” award, which is given to students who achieved a four-year average of 84.5 over the same period of time.
Student leaders also addressed attendees, reflecting on their high school experience.
“Many of us have been counting down to this day since we entered high school four years ago. I will admit graduation is something I have looked forward to for a while, but now that the day is actually here it is time to acknowledge how much I miss this school,” said Salutatorian Shaylee Cealie, who noted she will miss the guidance of her teachers the most.
Valedictorian Camille Stevenson issued a challenge for all graduates.
“I challenge all of you to inspire others with your flame and create a positive chain reaction that changes people's lives for the better,” Stevenson said. “Let your light inspire others to shine just as bright as you.”