Final Farewell: 200 graduate as part of Pelham’s Class of 2018

PELHAM – The unity among Pelham High School’s Class of 2018 showed at their graduation on Thursday, May 24, when they all joined arms while swaying from side to side singing the school’s alma mater.

The unity and sense of family are two of the things class valedictorian Braxton Jeffcoat said he’ll miss about PHS.

“Leaving Pelham means leaving family, especially when you’ve been with the same people for 13 years,” Jeffcoat said, who boasts a 4.32 GPA. “But, I challenge you to go out into the world and live fully every day.”

Although high school was amazing and full of growth, new experiences, memories and friendships, Jeffcoat said it is the determination of his class that he remembers the most.

“From the band grinding in the heat every summer during band camp, to our championship volleyball team and seeing students studying hard for exams – our determination is what I’ll take with me.”

Class president Jacqueline Adan congratulated the class on being offered $3.6 million in scholarships.

She also urged her classmates to live their lives without seeking acceptance from others.

“Acceptance from others will not fulfill us in the end,” she said. “Our class has an overabundance of talent, but it means nothing if we don’t use those talents to heal and inspire the world around us.”

Mayor Gary Waters continued on the theme of working to make the world a better place, telling students that it’s up to them to change the things they feel are wrong in the world.

“Life is nothing but a beautiful complex jigsaw and it’s up to you to use the one piece of the puzzle that you get to the best of your ability,” he said. “You have to see where you fit in life’s puzzle.”

Principal Amanda Wilbanks said the Class of 2018 will always hold a special place in her heart because it’s her first graduating class as principal of PHS for an entire school year. She said it was difficult to find the words to properly express how she felt, but ultimately, she settled on the word ‘gratitude.’

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not,” she said. “Don’t lose sight of appreciation for what you have.”

Every once in a while, Wilbanks asked her first graduating class to keep in touch and share with the school the successes they will undoubtedly have.

Graduation photos available at