Copperas Cove HS graduates 466
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Bell County Expo Center was full of excitement as family and friends watched the 466 students making up the Copperas Cove High School Class of 2019 accept their diplomas Saturday afternoon during the commencement ceremony.
Saturday’s commencement marked the last graduation for Miguel Timarky as the Copperas Cove High School’s principal. Prior to the start of the ceremony, Timarky said he is always excited about this day but that this year’s graduating class meant something more because this class marked the second class that he had been principal of for all four years of their time at the high school.
The ceremony opened with the posting of the colors by the CCHS JROTC and the playing of the National Anthem by the Pride of Cove Band.
Senior Class co-presidents Hailey Hawkins and Mikayla Devins recognized special guests and gave their speeches together.
Hawkins encouraged her fellow classmates to be one in seven billion, rather than one in a million.
“To be one in a million means there are 7,000 other people just like you,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins encouraged her classmates to avoid conforming to what society says to be and to strive for excellence.
“In the days ahead, we must be better than average,” Hawkins said. “This will take drive, discipline and determination as we demand the best from ourselves.”
Devins dedicated her speech to classmate Cameron Raine, who died after being hit by a car in 2016.
She encouraged her classmates to remember three words - good, better and best.
“Don’t stop until your good is better and your better is the best,” Devins said.
The Class of 2019 Salutatorian Abdiel Hernandez-Lopez also dedicated his speech to Raine.
Lopez shared that the class of 2019 had obtained the cure to a disease known as senioritis.
“And that cure is graduation,” Lopez said, to thunderous cheers and applause.
He touched on the different career paths that members of the class of 2019 will embark on, from doctors to lawyers to SoundCloud rappers or even legislators.
“Please set a dignified example for our nation,” Lopez said as he gave advice to those looking to become legislators. “Represent people with dignity. Tell the truth. Be respectful. And most importantly, bring people together, do not divide them.”
Lopez encouraged his classmates to keep working towards their dreams and not to give up.
“The minute you call it a day is the moment your dreams become extinguished,” Lopez said.
Valedictorian Noah Gonzales touched on the importance of trials and tribulations.
“I have learned a valuable lesson in the past four years and that is that struggle is the goal,” Gonzales said. “Areas in which I did not challenge myself became my most malnourished, while areas in which I struggled developed the most.”
Gonzales touched on the common phrase of taking the road less traveled as he encouraged his classmates to confront their obstacles.
“When you leave here today, I encourage you to take the steeper road, the wetter road, or the gravel road,” Gonzales said. “Just don’t damage your car.”
Some facts about this year’s graduating class include that the class of 2019 received more than $2.7 million in scholarships.
One of those students was Alexis Grasso, who received several scholarships from different committees including the Copperas Cove Education Foundation, the Mt. Hiram Masonic Lodge, the Martin Luther King Commemoration Committee and more. Grasso, who was the president of the CCHS HOSA chapter, plans to attend the University of Texas at San Antonio to major in biology and then attend medical school to become a physician. Grasso said that the scholarships she received helped tremendously.
“Looking at the numbers is the scariest part of going into college because you have to find ways to pay for it, especially paying for all four years, so the fact that the people on the committee[s] were willing to give me these, it just opens the opportunity up even more for me,” Grasso said.
Of the 466 total graduates, 23 wore a red, white and blue honors cord to signal that they were going into the United States military, while more than 20 student athletes have signed letters of intent to play the sport of their choice in college.
Students from Copperas Cove High School were accepted into colleges and universities across Texas as well as in Arizona, Alabama, California, New Mexico, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Florida, New York, Wisconsin, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Graduate Shontez Simmons was accepted into the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
The CCHS Chorale performed a special music selection of Irish Blessing before Superintendent Joe Burns addressed the graduates.
“I had drafted some words of wisdom and some ideas to share with the young people and you know what, the young people have said it best,” Burns said.
Burns encouraged the graduates to remember three things as they move on to their next step.
“Always remember who you are; always remember where you’re from; and always remember if the sun’s not shining where you are, that we love you, we care about you and you can always come home to Copperas Cove,” Burns said.
Burns shared a quote attributed to Mother Teresa, encouraging the graduates to forgive people, be kind, succeed, be honest and sincere, create, be happy, do good, and give their best anyway.
Timarky shared a message about commitment and determination with the graduates. He spoke about the true story of Walter Carr, a 20-year-old Alabama man who walked 20 miles to his new job as a mover-- an eight-hour trip on foot- and because of his determination to make it to his job, ended up receiving a ride from two different police officers, a free breakfast, more than $90,000 raised through GoFundMe and a car from the CEO of the company he worked for.
“I have been with you all all four years,” Timarky said. “If the accomplishments of this class are any indication of their efforts, then these seniors are ready to tackle and overcome any struggles that they will encounter as they strive to reach both to their vision and dreams.”
Timarky encouraged the graduates to commit to their journey as they move forward.
“It will be your commitment and relentless determination that will propel you to success,” Timarky said.