Crossroads graduates 24 in spring 2017 class
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Their numbers were nowhere close to the 515 graduates from Copperas Cove High School, but for the Crossroads High School class of 2017, their excitement was no less as each class member walked the stage to receive their high school diplomas at Lea Ledger Auditorium on Friday evening, one day after CCHS graduated at the Bell County Expo Center.
At the ceremony, the 24 graduates marched into the auditorium to the sounds of Pomp and Circumstance, with family and friends present to cheer them on.
After posting of the colors by the JROTC color guard and pledges, James Irick, Crossroads High School principal, welcomed all who came to the ceremony and also recognized the Copperas Cove Independent School District board of trustees and their spouses present for the ceremony, along with CCISD administration.
Irick then introduced the guest speaker for the evening, Carolyn Taylor, counselor for Crossroads High School.
Taylor gave the students some tips for entering the next phase of their lives, including how to deal with fear, what happens when your plans are derailed, the value of learning from mistakes, about gratitude and giving back.
“I know you’re excited about graduation and you certainly should be. It’s a wonderful time in your life. But some of you may be sitting there, somewhat fearful about what is next, and I’ve talked with some of you about that,” Taylor told the graduates. “We talked about if it’s college, the military, or work. It’s a big, wide world and the unknown.”
She told them it was ok to be scared, that fear can be a great motivator, to make us work harder.
“It may mean that we need help, and if we do, we need to ask for help. Or, we may need to learn the ropes or we may just need to stay away and be aware. Being afraid doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you. It’s ok to be afraid about that big step you’re about to take.”
Taylor also gave the graduates a new phrase to remember: “Just altered.”
“You may think you have everything all figured out—college, military or straight to work. One day, you’re going to meet that special person, and on and on…At some time, at some point, your plan gets de-railed. So what do you do? You have to be flexible. it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of the next phase. Your life isn’t over; It’s just altered. Remember that phrase: just altered. It’ll come in handy in your life.
“If your plan doesn’t work out, don’t lock yourself up and throw away the key. Don’t be so rigid that you can’t change your plans. Be willing to change, adapt. Be willing to switch directions and start out on a new path if you want to.”
She encouraged the graduates to learn from their mistakes, that learning usually includes making mistakes.
In addition to fear, Taylor called for “courage with a capital C” to face their fears and handle those lumps and bumps in life.
“I know you’ve experienced plenty of those lumps and bumps in life. You need to walk through fear with faith, even though at the moment you’re scared. Its already taken a great deal of courage to negotiate high school and get to this point.”
The graduates were urged to have gratitude, even to start with something as simple as a roof over your head, a meal, clothes on your back.
“Gratitude is kind of like muscles; the more you do it, the stronger it gets.”
Taylor rounded out her remarks by telling the graduates to “break your mirror,” meaning in a society that is so self-absorbed, to begin looking less themselves and more and more at each other.
“You’ll get more satisfaction from improving your neighborhood, your town, your state, your country, and your fellow human beings than you’ll ever get from accumulating and buying stuff.”
She reminded the graduates of how some of them have already volunteered in the community, such as making phonics phones for elementary students and bell ringing for the Salvation Army.
“Stay involved in your community. The message is simple: if you want to feel good, then do good.
Every one of us can make a difference in the lives of someone else.”
After Taylor concluded her speech, Irick certified the class of 2017 as eligible to graduate, which was ac-cepted by CCISD superintendent Joe Burns.
Burns, along with Joan Manning, school board president, then presented each student with a diploma.
Sharon Whitis, Irick’s secretary, met every student at the bottom of the stage’s steps and presented them with a hug along with a yellow rose.
This year’s Crossroads High School graduates included Joshua Bigelow, Gracie Cantwell, Stephanie Cuevas, Andria DuBrall, Selina Finkel, Zarika Gilliard, Natalie Gonzalez, Michael Gresko, Deondric Holcomb, Zeno Holmes, Kelsey Hover, Stephon Lane, Austin Liscum, Ariel Miller, Carmen Monroe, Yasmine Montgomery, Hannah Papson, Colin Pearson, Stefon Reece, Michael Reid, Sierra Rodriguez, Camryn Staggs, Jasmine Walker and Victoria Zabatta.