CHHS class of 2016 graduates

Chelsea High School seniors hold their diplomas at graduation May 24 at Samford University's Pete Hanna Center. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

Chelsea High School seniors hold their diplomas at graduation May 24 at Samford University’s Pete Hanna Center. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM – More than 280 Chelsea High School students marked the end of a 12-year academic journey as they walked across the stage in Samford University’s Pete Hanna Center to receive their diplomas at a graduation ceremony May 24.

“We walked in that first day of school as nervous little freshmen,” CHHS valedictorian John Tyler Guess said in his address to the class of 2016. “Graduation signifies a paradigm shift in our lives. I wish you all the best of luck with the changes coming in the future.”

Guess and salutatorian Meg Elizabeth Wilson both thanked God, their teachers, school administrators and others who supported them throughout their academic careers.

“We’ve impacted our school and community in ways that simply can’t be measured,” Wilson said to her classmates. “This entire experience can’t be defined in mere minutes. The last four years hold some pretty great memories.”

Wilson said she and her classmates have changed together and have “learned how to be responsible, dedicated and to never give up.”

“As a class, we’ve been through a lot,” she added. “I urge you to remember we have a duty to rise above our circumstances. Find your passion and give it all you’ve got.”

CHHS Principal Wayne Trucks encouraged students to embrace opportunities they encounter and to celebrate “small victories” in life.

“Each day, we have an opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others, which I consider a victory,” Trucks said. “Each day is a gift, and each day is an opportunity to celebrate the small moments. Take a deep breath, exhale and celebrate this achievement.”

In closing, Trucks said, “Each and every day is a great day to be a Hornet.”

Special music was provided by graduate Abigail Rose Barnett, who sang “I Hope You Dance” and the CHHS alma mater following the presentation of diplomas.