ND Class of 2017 turns to new chapter
SHILOH — North Dorchester High’s class of 2017 closed a chapter Wednesday, May 24, and began writing a new one at graduation.
The school honored 105 seniors, a group that collectively earned a school record of $3.17 million in scholarships.
“It has been one of my great professional privileges to watch you individually and collectively walk your journey and watch your journey unfold the last four years,” Principal Lynn Sorrells said. “It is inspirational to see you sitting this stage. You are a class all of your own. You are a magnificent mosaic of perspectives, gifts and talents.”
Beth Thomas and Jerome Thomas received the honor of co-valedictorian for the class.
“It is my privilege to be a part of such an outstanding class,” Beth Thomas said. “I will miss North Dorchester. Today is the day to be thankful and celebrate all the class of 2017 has accomplished. Without your inspiration and guidance, we would not be here tonight as successful graduates.
“One chapter in our lives may be coming to an end, but an even more exciting chapter is awaiting us. I can’t wait to see what life has in store for us. Whether we are going off to college, going to the military or entering the workforce, each of us will always remember the support system we had during our time at North Dorchester.”
Jerome Thomas thanked the parents, family members, teachers and faculty members for helping the students.
“A great education starts at home,” he said. “You sacrificed for us. You watched us grow and gave us knowledge. We appreciate all the things you have done for us over the years. Thank you for molding us into the people we are today.”
Jerome Thomas said the teachers and faculty members pushed each graduate to strive for more.
“Thank you for coming in early and staying late into the night,” he said. “I have formed many great relationships with the teachers here.”
He ended his speech by telling his fellow graduates to “do everything to the best of your ability.”
The co-valedictorians, along with Olivia Davidson, Rachel Ewing, Jeffrey Newton, Kelsey Arnold, Sierrah Lanahan, Marguerite Ross and Amanda Tilghman received the Scholastic Merit Award.
Jerome Thomas received the North Dorchester High School Service Award for possessing outstanding qualities of dependability, leadership, trust, cooperation and loyalty to the school.
Five students were honored for the Patricia H. Hopkins Memorial Scholarship Award given to a senior on the basis of scholarship, activities, dependability and potential for success in a chosen career.
Davidson won the award. Stella Thomas was the fourth finalist, Tilghman was the third finalist, Jerome Thomas was the second finalist and Beth Thomas was the first finalist.
Davidson also received the William R. Wheatley National Honor Society Student of the Year Award for possessing the qualities of extracurricular activities participation, citizenship, school spirit, loyalty, personal integrity and reliability.
She also won the NDHS Service Award and was named salutatorian.
“No matter how many times we write and rewrite future chapters of our lives, not every aspect of that plan may work out and that is okay,” she said. “Failure can lead to ultimate success. Never be afraid to fail. Don’t let doubt discourage you.
“Always follow your heart and mind. I am confident every one of my fellow classmates will find success and happiness in their future even if we have to bear some bumps along the way.”
Class of 2017 Vice President Rachel Ewing and Brett Stiles received the Willie James Sydnor Memorial Scholarship Award for their character, scholarship, leadership, dependability, cooperation and loyalty to the school and community.
The ceremony’s commencement address was given by 1966 North Dorchester High graduate H. Rex Richardson. He is an aerospace engineer and is working on the NASA Restore-L Satellite Provides Servicing Mission, scheduled to launch in 2020.
He told the students not to let fear of failure get in the way of goals.
“ou have to believe in yourself,” he said. “There will be unexpected roadblocks and forks in the road but keep on moving toward the prize. Be prepared to modify your plans.
“You need a plan. Don’t limit yourself to one or two goals. The trick is to learn from your failure, put your failure behind you and move on. The challenges you face along the way only help you in your chosen field. Follow your dreams and have fun.”
Co-valedictorian Beth Thomas, left, and her best friend, salutatorian Olivia Davidson, share a laugh at North Dorchester’s graduation Wednesday, May 24.
Co-valedictorian Jerome Thomas receives the North Dorchester High School Service Award for possessing outstanding qualities of dependability, leadership, trust, cooperation and loyalty to the school during the school’s graduation Wednesday, May 24.