Five hundred graduate from Thompson High

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2019

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

BIRMINGHAM – Every year of their tenure at Thompson High School brought a new lesson and new experiences for the class of 2019.

“In our freshman year, we learned to grow. Sophomore year, we learned to walk. Junior year, we learned to run. Senior year, we learned to lead,” said THS class of 2019 President Terence Armstead Jr. “Each of these steps has prepared us to change the world. Remember that failure is not permanent. It’s only permanent if you don’t get back up. It will take courage to take advantage of our opportunities for success.”

Armstead and 499 of his fellow graduates will be remembered for many things, chief among them their record number of college scholarships, military enlistments, career certifications and athletic achievements.

During the class’s graduation ceremony at UAB’s Bartow Arena on the night of May 21, the seniors added one final memory to their legacy when they surprised THS Principal Dr. Wesley Hester with a book of memories from their time at Thompson.

“This class is record-breaking, and they are standard-raising. This class has broken records and shattered expectations beyond imagination,” Hester told the graduates. “Your legacy as a Warrior is not over tonight, it’s just beginning. You are the giants whose shoulders others who come behind you are going to stand on.”

The ceremony featured the pledge of allegiance by the THS Air Force Junior ROTC and cadet Taylor DiCicco, the national anthem and musical presentations by the THS Madrigals, a prayer led by Madison Finch and remarks from Alabaster Mayor Marty Handlon, School Board President Adam Moseley, Alabaster School Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers, Armstead, valedictorian Abigail Spicer and University of Alabama Dean Mark Nelson.

“Change will be constant in your lives, and you need to stay focused on each and every one. Don’t get so focused on the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey,” Handlon said. “Congratulations, graduates. You are Warrior strong, and you are our Warrior pride.”

Vickers said this year’s graduating class was especially meaningful to him, because his youngest son, Will, was a part of it.

“When we moved here six years ago, we thought the transition would be difficult. But from the very first day he was at Thompson Middle School, Will was welcomed with open arms,” Vickers said. “To everyone in the class of 2019, be safe, enjoy the ride and never forget your way home.”

Spicer encouraged her classmates to never be afraid to take a leap of faith if it meant following their life goals.

“Each day, we must all strive to be the best version of ourselves,” Spicer said. “Everyone has their own definition of success. To me, success means to give your very best effort in everything you do.”

Nelson told the class of 2019 to follow three simple rules: have a good attitude, emulate positive traits they see in their friends and give up the need for recognition.

“The world will tell you fall in line, but we can’t have you simply falling in line,” Nelson said. “We need men and women of strong character to usher in an age of unprecedented collaboration.”

To purchase photos from the graduation, visit