ECHS holds commencement exercises for Class of 2023

Published 7:49 pm Monday, May 22, 2023

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There was one thing in common each of the 84 graduates of Escambia County High School’s Class of 2023 displayed when they received their diplomas Monday night — achievement.

With family and friends looking on, and many with celebratory balloons in hand, the most-recent class of the Atmore high school celebrated the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

“You didn’t embark on this journey alone,” Escambia County Schools Superintendent Michele McClung said, adding that the support of parents, loved ones and guardians was something to be cherished. “You have been their pillars of strength.”

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McClung encouraged the graduates to have the audacity to dream big.

Salutatorian Hasten Dean III said this class was celebrating an accumulation of achievements and hard work.

“We have shown resilience and determination,” Dean said. “As we move forward, we carry the lessons we’ve learned; the memories we made.”

Dean said each one of them will always be grateful for those who gave their support, namely parents, school staff and faculty and others.

“Let us not forget to strive to make a positive impact on the world,” he said. “You have the power to make a positive impact.”

Valedictorian Shamirica Rankins said one teacher projected that she would be valedictorian one day. While she didn’t know the meaning of the word in eighth grade, she said she strived to accomplish the title.

“The end is where you have to get to,” Rankins said. “We have finally made it to this day.”

Rankins recalled sitting in the stands watching other graduating classes.

“We are finally wearing the blue and white gown,” she said. “We made it.”

Rankins said the memories made during high school will stay with them forever.

She said 1 Corinthians 10:13 is a good verse to ascribe toward.

“God wouldn’t put more onto you that you can’t bare,” she said. “Our hard work and dedication have finally paid off. Congrats and welcome to your new beginning.”

City of Atmore Municipal Judge Karean Reynolds reminded the graduates that the one thing that transcends all is education.

“We all want to be successful,” Reynolds said. “What is success? It is based on each individual.”

Reynolds encouraged the class to believe in themselves, never forget where they came from as they continue to follow their own individual paths of success and to never give up.