Setting a theme for the rest of their lives

Published 9:04 am Friday, May 31, 2013

Pelham High School graduates, from left, Courtney Boutwell, Brittany Horton, Kelly Nguyen and Megan Harris. (Contributed)

Pelham High School graduates, from left, Courtney Boutwell, Brittany Horton, Kelly Nguyen and Megan Harris. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

The longer I teach, the more I realize that with each graduating class a truly magical experience transpires.

Certainly, there will be more peace makers and generous spirits in creative writing, but will anyone have the incredible gift of including others and providing perfectly timed comic relief like Michael? There will be other literary magazine managing editors, but will anyone manage the business of lit mag like Sam? Will anyone redirect an inappropriate freshman in that freshman’s native language of Portuguese like Zach (who learned Portuguese just because he’s Zach)? Will anyone swallow the bitterness of a huge scholarship lost long enough to stay around, push in the chairs, turn off the computers and tell me not to worry about him as Lalo did? Or find me only days before graduation to share joyously that Mrs. Cochran, working with the wonderful people at the University of Montevallo, has found him an amazing scholarship as Lalo also did? Will anyone ever be as sincere and honest as Megan—or as free-spirited as Mareth?

There will never be another PHS Class of 2013 and I will miss them. At the same time, their possibilities are exciting. This class has overcome many challenges and much adversity. I know they will accomplish great things, that they will view any defeat as temporary and that they are prepared to complete the hard work that success demands.

Thanks to senior Class President Justin Brooks and top valedictorian Molly Bogan, the Class of ’13 leaves a legacy. Brooks reminds us how quickly graduation comes and that everyday is a great day to be a Pelham Panther. Molly Bogan invokes the words from “The Gospel According to Harry,” referencing the popular British “Harry Potter” series, “The power of love has the magic to conquer anything.”

Bogan, her classmates and her perfectly chosen quote capture the essence of a PHS graduation. Your school has pushed you, your teachers, classes and circumstances have challenged you. You have proven that you possess the power to persevere. Go forth and conquer.