Crossroads High graduates 40

By NICOLE METTS
Cove Leader-Press

Crossroads High school had nearly double the number of graduates walk across the stage at Lea Ledger Auditorium last Thursday, compared to last spring’s graduating class of 24. 
“This spring we are graduating 40 students, we don’t know that that’s our record, but it’s definitely the most we have done in the past 5 years. Crossroads is full of great change and we are going to try to get more graduated next year,” said Gwendolyn Gray, a teacher at Crossroads. 
Excitement filled the room from students, their friends and families and faculty alike; despite each student’s personal obstacles in life, they still completed their goal of graduating. Crossroads helps students with exceptional circumstances or challenges that cause them to have trouble attending a regular high school.  
Crossroads Principal James Irick introduced faculty and welcomed those in attendance.
Irick spoke of a challenge he made to himself and his staff to have 40 graduate.
“Mrs. Gray, our English teacher, put a challenge out on March 5 to our students. She said her birthday was May 21t and she wanted to see 210 credit slips (half credit courses) completed by then. They did not meet it, they passed it with 244. Nine graduates completed high school in three years,” he said. 
Irick then gave the students something to think about by saying, “I do not remember who shared this with me, but it can determine a lot about your attitude and thoughts on life. Whatever your favorite song is- is your outlook on life. I believe there is good in everybody, you just have to find it. I also believe that everything will work out. Congratulations I am proud of you.”
Zuly Del Valle, financial center manager at Extraco Bank in Copperas Cove, was the chosen guest speaker to share her inspirational story of her life and the challenges she had to overcome. 
“Life is not going to be easy for you, you will have obstacles, but it’s your attitude that is going to determine where you are gonna go; If you are going to move forward or not,” Del Valle told the graduates. 
Superintendent Joseph Burns then gave his address next with some words of inspiration. 
“Do everything in your power to do the best at whatever you choose to be, so when the day is done, people can look at you and say, ‘I knew him or I knew her, and they made a positive difference in my life.’”
 He also congratulated Carol Taylor with 39 years of service as a school counselor. 
The moment was commemorated by presenting her with a graduation cap and gown, along with inviting all the graduates to join her on stage for a group photo. 
The students exited the stage and auditorium with great enthusiasm of their future and pride of accomplishment.
Kyle Gilligan said he plans on joining the military, to follow in his father’s footsteps, with his father having served 26 years in the Army. 
“It feels great to graduate,” said Lenee Short. “I feel like I accomplished all my goals I wanted to hit and after graduation I am just going to join the military, Airforce.” 
When asked about what it was like to attend a small high school Lenee said, “It feels good because I could study better and pay attention to my teachers without having to worry about peers around me, it’s not very load and helps me concentrate drama-free. It’s a better alternative for me than a regular big high school.”
Shaun Bolten said, “It’s exhilarating, actually. It’s been a long hard ride of a lot of dedication and a lot o hard work, to finally see a payoff and see the route that it’s taking me, it means a lot to me. I am really thankful for all the people and teachers that have helped me get as far as I have, It’s a great feeling.” He said his favorite teacher, Mr. Barnett, is a fantastic role model and good friend. Bolten said he plans to attend TSTC Waco for mechanical engineering.
Jhanay Brown said her favorite teacher was Ms. Stye,
“I like her drive; the way she drives us. She is very ambitious the way she strives for us to always do our best and nothing more than the best. When we are down she will tell us right from wrong definitely.”

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