Calera High’s Class of 2018 graduates

CALERA – As nearly 200 Calera High School seniors awaited their walk across the stage to receive their diploma on Tuesday, May 22, at the University of Montevallo’s McChesney Student Activity Center, Class of 2018 salutatorian Emily Armstrong urged her classmates to cherish the memories they’ve made over the years.

Armstrong said she’s known a lot of her classmates since kindergarten. From Field Day and competitive games of dodgeball in elementary school, to those tough middle school years and then to learning how to drive in high school, Armstrong reflected on all they’ve experienced together.

“We made it through the hardest part of the journey and now it’s time to soar to new heights,” she said. “I encourage you to see where your journey will take you.”

In her closing remarks, she told her classmates not to cry because this part of their journey is over, but smile because it happened.

During the ceremony, senior class president Josiah Garrett led the Pledge of Allegiance, the CHS band played Pomp and Circumstance during the graduate processional and graduating members of the sang the Star Spangled Banner.

“This community has helped to shape us into who we are today and now this is our opportunity to go out and make an impact on the world,” said valedictorian Oscar Bacerra during his speech.

Bacerra also congratulated his classmates on being offered a total of $4.3 million in scholarships.

Every year, CHS invites an alumnus to offer words of advice to the current graduating class. This year, Dr. Casey White, a pharmacist and owner of Cowart Drugs in Calera, advised students to never relinquish control to their doubts and insecurities.

“Now is the time to commit yourselves to the only future you will ever have,” she said. “Discipline, commitment and passion are the stepping stones to the future you desire.”

She encouraged students to find their passion and to let it guide them.

“Without discovering your passion, you cannot fully live and enjoy your life,” she said.

While on their journeys, White told the students there will be bumps and bruises along the way.

“Never underestimate the power of failure,” she said. “Learn from your failures and push forward.”