WPHS holds 2019 commencement

 West Point High School 2019 Valedictorian Lindsey Hill gives her speech at the WPHS graduation Thursday night.
Staff Writer

On Thursday night, West Point High School’s class of 2019 completed its journey.

The class of 194 students graduated in a well-attended ceremony at the Humphrey Coliseum. In total, the class received $2,060,408 in scholarship offers. The valedictorian was Lindsey Hill. The salutatorian was James Bryan Harrell Jr., and the third ranked honor graduate was Mckinsey Wedel. Members of the West Point High School JROTC Battalion presented the colors prior to the start of the ceremony.

In her speech, Wedel discussed being the first in her family to finish high school, coming from a religious background that only allowed education to the eighth grade. She called for her classmates to reflect on their journeys to graduation.

“I was born into a religion that doesn’t practice education past eighth grade,” Weidel said. “I am the first person in my family to complete a full 12 years of school.”
She said it was important to look forward and not to fall into destructive traditions.

“The world needs our uniqueness, our dedication, and our own creative ideas to become a better place,” Wedel said.

“Although my past religion didn’t practice education past the eighth grade, it brought values and morals I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Wedel added. “My daddy showed me success through hard work and love for his family. My mom instilled amazing amounts of wisdom in me every day, my brother was my childhood best friend and constantly pushed me to do things, giving me the determination I needed to get to this point in my life and my sisters have given me the opportunity to be an example for someone watching me.”

She encouraged her classmates to look to the future to see what they could accomplish.

Harrell thanked his classmates, family and WPHS and school district staff. His address focused on living in the present.

“Today is the present, and it’s a gift that’s unique to each of us,” Harrell said. “How will you receive it? Will you take care in opening it, being careful in case the contents could break, or will you rip into it at supersonic speed, not caring to see what’s inside? The gift of each day may not always be what we want or need, but if we take the time to take each day for all it’s worth, I promise that there is something that makes it worth it to you.”

He encouraged his classmates to live in the moment for the rest of their lives.

“You will be shocked by the change you feel,” Harrell said.

In her valedictorian address, Hill thanked God and the people who helped her reach graduation.

“So graduates, our lives are about to change,” Hill said. “The minute we turn our tassels, this day of our life is over, and we’re on to the next adventure whatever that may be. For so many years, we walked the same halls every day, been in he classroom with the same people, and probably sat in the same spot in the cafeteria day after day.”

She told her classmates that it was their turn to choose their own paths for personal success.

She then as asked the question of what success meant.

“We must individually decide what success looks like for us,” Hill said. “Some may define success as financial stability determined by the amount of money they are making, for others it’s high-level job positions with a fancy title, or maybe it’s having an impact or the world around us.”

She told her classmates to define success on their own terms.

“Whatever your path may be, I encourage you to pursue it with passion,” Hill said. ”Make sure you find success in something you love, choosing a path that you’re passionate about.”