419 graduate from THS

Thompson High School graduate and valedictorian Christopher Lewis Jr., left, prepares to take his seat during the school's May 20 graduation ceremony at Bartow Arena in Birmingham. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Thompson High School graduate and valedictorian Christopher Lewis Jr., left, prepares to take his seat during the school’s May 20 graduation ceremony at Bartow Arena in Birmingham. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Thompson High School top valedictorian Antonio Currie could still remember what he was thinking six years ago when he took the stage at the school’s graduation on May 20.

“I can vividly remember being in the sixth grade and thinking ‘I’m only halfway done with school,’” Currie said during the ceremony at UAB’s Bartow Arena in downtown Birmingham. “Now, I look around and think ‘Wow, I’m already done.”

Currie was among 419 students who graduated from THS during the school’s first commencement since the formation of the Alabaster City School System in the summer of 2013.

In total, the graduates earned more than $9.7 million in scholarships – more than double the school’s amount from last year – said Alabaster Board of Education President Adam Moseley.

“To the first graduates of Alabaster City Schools: You now represent Thompson High School and Alabaster to the world,” Moseley said. “I know you will make us proud.”

During their speeches, Currie and 2014 Class President Sarah Beth Holdbrooks congratulated their classmates and thanked their parents for helping them to reach the milestone in their lives.

“We graduate because of your support and encouragement,” Holdbrooks said. “We are about to embark on a journey that is like no other. We have been looking forward to this moment for what seems like forever.

“I love each and every one of you. Good luck on your journey,” Holdbrooks added.

The ceremony also featured remarks from THS Principal Dr. Daniel Steele, Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers and Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey.

THS students Jenna Holley led the Pledge of Allegiance, Zachary Carnes led the invocation and Chase Hogland performed a rendition of the school’s alma mater. The THS Madrigals also performed the song “Seasons of Love.”

“Tonight, grads, it’s all about you,” Ivey said. “You are the champions of our future, because the future belongs to you. If not to you, then who?”

“The class of 2014 is our greatest achievement to date,” Vickers said. “Tonight, the dreams of our community have become a reality.”