CVA alumnus addresses graduates

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

The threat of rain showers and the look of stormy clouds placed a questionable shadow over the stadium that was host to graduation festivities for Coosa Valley Academy on Thursday, May 17. But as the evening approached, the sun was shining and the students lined up, each adorned with cap and gown. Then, like magic, the temperature dropped and the stage was set.

Standing next to a familiar face, David Miller of Vincent, we chatted and I told him I was there to hear the speaker for the evening. His face lit up. “Becky, she is the reason I am here,” he said. He went on to explain that they went to school together back in the ’80s and he had not seen his friend for a while. “I am here to support her.”

Rebecca Vick-Watson, former Coosa Valley Academy graduate and current Associate Vice Chancellor for Development at Troy University, spoke to CVA’s Class of 2018 at graduation last week. (Contributed)

Harpersville’s mayor and former chairman of the Academy, Don Greene, welcomed the crowd, and then, Pamela Lovelady, the Academy’s headmaster, stepped to the podium to acknowledge all 29 graduates one by one. Asking their families to also stand, she shared a personal story or special memory of each student. It was a touching part of the program.

Leaning over and commenting to Miller that the students will remember her words forever, he responded, “Oh yes, Pam is a wonderful lady. She does this every year. She really loves those kids.”

When Rebecca Vick-Watson, the former graduate of Coosa Valley Academy and now Associate Vice Chancellor for Development at Troy University stepped to the podium, she was warmly welcomed with applause, and then everyone silenced as if they knew she had important words to speak. “Thank you for welcoming me back,” she said.

She began her address to the students. “Graduates, today is your day to start your quest and your journey to make relationships that will change your life forever. You see, if you put God first in your life, the rest pretty much takes care of itself,” she said.

Her overall message included instructions for ordering and prioritizing relationships in life.  “God first, family second, friends third, business colleagues fourth,” she said, noting she is one of seven children. “I try to tell my family and friends at every opportunity how much they mean to me.

“Friendships are vitally important, many of mine were made right here,” she continued, and listed a group of friends, David Miller first among them. I looked over as he wiped a tear.

“I never take these relationships for granted,” Vick-Watson said. “Graduates, never give up on a friend. Share their hurt and pain. Rejoice in their triumphs. It’s these moments that build lasting friendships that you can count on for the rest of your life.”

Looking over and complimenting Vick-Watson on a heart-felt message, Miller responded, “I love my friends.” Had I just witnessed a keynote speech play out before my eyes?