Goodwin, White receive standing ovation at SCHS graduation

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Reporter

More than 130 Shelby County High School students received their diplomas on May 23, but only two received standing ovations.

Dalton White and Christopher Goodwin, who were seriously injured in separate accidents during their senior year, brought their classmates and the audience to their feet when they received their diplomas.

Goodwin, who lost a leg during a car accident in February and now has a prosthesis, was called first. He used a wheelchair to reach the stage, then walked to receive his diploma, drawing loud cheers from the audience.

Although his accident occurred only a little more than two months ago, he said he knew he would walk across the stage on graduation night.

“Before I could walk, I was planning on it,” he said. “I have had tons of support.”

White, who was injured when a truck he was working on fell on him in September 2011, was called immediately after Goodwin. He received an equally enthusiastic standing ovation from his classmates and the audience as he used a wheelchair to navigate the stage.

“I’ve come a long way,” he said.

Jared Seale, summa cum laude valedictorian, touched on the graduating seniors’ journey during his speech, and looked ahead to their future contributions to the world.

Quoting Henry David Thoreau – “One is not born into this world to do everything but to do something” – he urged his classmates to be willing to take background roles when necessary.

“My message to you, senior class, is to not be afraid to take the role that no one else wants to do,” he said.

Principal Gene Rogers also looked to the future as he addressed the graduating class.

“Now it’s time to turn this page, as you write a new chapter in your life,” he said. “We challenge you to live a life of service, to do all you can to make the world and you a better place.”