Three hundred forty-four John Tyler High School students graduated Friday at the Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
School Principal Dr. Kenneth Gay welcomed attendees to the ceremony saying it was a time to “witness the culmination of 13 years of hard work and dedication.”
As the students walked to the center of the football field the audience members yelled their support and waved to their graduates.
Tyler ISD school board President the Rev. Orenthia Mason thanked the parents for entrusting their sons and daughters to the school district.
Salutatorian Cristal Galindez, a Dell Scholarship recipient who is planning to attend Tyler Junior College and Baylor University, thanked her parents for believing in her. She told her fellow graduates that they are “a class of pride, triumph, achievement and honors.”
She recalled the many fun times they had at school events, their accomplishments such as earning $3.1 million in scholarships and their losses, such as the death of classmate Gaylon Cox.
“The good and the bad molded us into the young adults we are today,” she said.
Valedictorian Char’De Young, who plans to start her college career at Tyler Junior College, told her fellow graduates, “The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighting match and each of you is a fuse.”
She asked her classmates to consider their goals, their purpose and what they want out of life. She praised her mother as an example of someone who achieved her goals through hard work and determination.
Miss Young said the word “firework” can serve as a reminder of what it takes to make good things happen: fire, in other words action or passion, and work.
“When you put action, passion and work together, success explodes,” she said.
Other student speakers included Student Council President Charity Kennebrew and Senior Class President Stacy Avila.
Gay said these graduates will be the 21st century’s leaders and he is excited about their potential for success.
He told the students that earning their high school diploma is just the beginning, and everything they have endured to this point was just a test.
From this point on, the responsibility is going to shift to them as young adults.
“Your true test begins the moment you walk across the stage and receive your diploma,” he said.