CCHS class of 2023 graduates 438
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove High School class of 2023 began its high school years during the onslaught of a global pandemic with delays, interruptions, and uncertainty, but on Friday night the atmosphere among the students was nothing less than triumphant.
A total of 438 students crossed the platform at the Bell County Expo Center in front of their peers, family, and friends at the ceremony.
Going by the numbers, members of the CCHS class of 2023 had already accomplished much by the time they graduated.
A total of 105 students, or nearly 25 percent of the graduating class, earned 140 industry-based certifications during their time at CCHS, to include phlebotomy technician, nursing assistant, patient care technician, medical assistant, fundamentals of animal science, accounting basics, ServSafe food protection manager, floral design I and II, educational aide, Adobe Photoshop, structural welding, social media marketing, homebuilders Institute pre-apprenticeship certification, and culinary arts. This year’s class of EKG technicians all passed their exams. One senior earned all five industry-based certifications in health science.
Five of the class of 2023 already earned their associate degrees from Central Texas College prior to receiving their high school diplomas.
Nineteen members of the class are headed for the United States military, to the Army, Navy, or Air Force.
Those who are college-bound have been awarded $1.1 million in scholarships.
One member of the class of 2023 will be “crossing the pond” to attend college in Great Britain and play soccer.
Class President, Emilee Eden, is heading to Tarleton State University in Stephenville where she will pursue a degree in Sports Management with a focus in sports media. Her ultimate goal is to work for a major media outlet and become a sideline reporter, and ultimately would love to manage professional athletes.
Prior to the ceremony, Eden said one of the biggest memories she’ll carry with her from high school was the Friday night Homecoming game, when the Bulldawgs beat the University Trojans last fall.
During her speech, Eden reminded her classmates that they started their time in high school a little differently than other graduating classes.
“I’ve been advised by many, many, many of y’all not to speak about COVID. But how can I not? We are the true definition of persevering.”
She also spoke to the future.
“I cannot stress to you the number of errors that you are about to make in the upcoming years. Some of you may be starting careers, others will serve our country and our workforces. And some of you will meet the one, get married and start families. So my advice to you is to remember to be kind, to live your life the way you want. Dream big dreams and do not ever look back. The world is ours.”
Valedictorian for the class of 2023, Haley Wang, gave her speech likewise telling her classmates that their journey to that evening was a “long ride, driving on a winding road with twists and turns.”
She gave one of her quotes, by Chuck Palahniuk: “The goal isn’t to live forever. It’s to create something that will have a huge impact on our world.”
““Well, the first step is to discover what drives you, what makes you come alive. And then you’ll get what you want. Once you have, rather than searching for instant gratification that contributes to temporary happiness, such as social media or using substances. Pursue your dream and success will follow. So don’t chase the final destination. Rather, embrace the world in front of you and make the best out of every situation.”
She also spoke of having gratitude and to appreciate every moment because a lot of people don’t until it’s too late.
Salutatorian Shreya Patel also had her turn to address her classmates, and expressed appreciation to their families who have been “pillars of support.”
“Today, as we stand here ready to embark on Divergent Paths, we embrace them. But even as we stand here, having grown in measurable ways, we recognize our growth is far from complete. There’s still so much to learn and experience, and we approach the future with open hearts and minds grateful for every moment of our experiences. We approach the future with open hearts and minds.”
Of the graduating class, CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns had a few words to say during the ceremony, most of which was touting the accomplishments of the students sitting in rows before him.
He concluded with, “I just want you to know this. We love you, and we wish you the best. You will always remain in our hearts, thoughts, in our prayers, as you transition to college, military service or the workforce. I want you to know you’ll always be a Bulldawg…You will always be the cat’s meow, the top of the heap, the best of the best.”