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'Go make your mark'

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By Tom Wilmoth

    “We made it – we made it to this day,” proclaimed Liberty High School Class President Melanie Joy Smith to her fellow classmates.

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    And then she urged the Class of 2012 to, “Go make your mark on the world.”
    Some 190 LHS seniors received their diplomas during the school’s 48th Commencement held Saturday at the Liberty University Vines Center. And then they marched out of the building, celebrating with friends and family, ready for that next step.
    Emma Paige Tibbs opened the Commencement ceremony by welcoming those who were  there and by reminding her classmates that “This is a time we will never forget.”
    “Never allow your learning to end,” she said. “Pursue your goals with commitment and compassion.”
    LHS Principal Mary Brandon, who will not be returning to the school next year, told the Class of 2012 to “Go forth and do your very best. … As you succeed in life, take someone else with you.”
    Student speakers Ethan Stuart Wood, Martha Sue Karnes and Peyton Lunsford Bond took a look at the past, the present and the future in their speeches.
    Wood quoted American poet Shel Silversteen: “This bridge will only take you halfway there – the last few steps you have to take alone.” He said it would be the lasting memories from their past that they will cherish most, as they look back at the foundation that has been laid “for the rest of our lives.”
    Karnes urged the Class of 2012 to not let their dreams go to waste. “Seize them and conquer them,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to be different. … We’ll make different contributions as we go off in our separate ways, but we’ll always be the Class of 2012.”
    Bond warned that life “can change in less than a second.”
    “Our reaction to that change shapes who we are,” Bond stated. “Be ready in an instant to change the world.”
    Each graduate was given a rose from their guidance counselor after receiving their diploma. They took the rose to give to someone who had supported them and helped them achieve this step.
    Liberty High School also awarded an honorary diploma to the family of Colton Wayne Knick, who would have graduated with the Class of 2012.
    Liberty’s class officers for the year included: Melanie Joy Smith, president; Peyton Lunsford Bond, vice president; Emma Paige Tibbs, secretary; Martha Sue Karnes, treasurer; and Lauren Marie Mason, historian.
    High Honors graduates included: Peyton Lunsford Bond, Katherine Alice Brown, Eric Albert Childress, Brooke Nicole Dinwiddie, Lauren Courtney Giles, Michael Alan Harris II, Martha Sue Karnes, Andrew William Knight, Lauren Marie Mason, Sarah Ann McCreery, Stephanie Leighona Miller, Joy Christine Scruggs, Symone Aubrey Simon, Melanie Joy Smith, Cymber Gail Stanley, Emma Paige Tibbs, Corey Keith Witt and Ethan Stuard Wood.
    Honors graduates included: Jamie Michelle Bennett, Travis Blake Beverley, Lauren Tyler Fitzgerald, Sperry Rawlings Grills, Jan Nicole Hunter, Adam Charles Nott, Sarah Katherine Rodes, Perry Russell Siehien, Gabrielle Nicole Spinner, Matthew Aaron Toms and Morgan Elizabeth Wood.