, 2014

NHS 2013 graduates
lead commencement

by Shannon Rice

Some 97 graduates took the stage during Northumberland High School’s graduation ceremony on Saturday.

View Class of 2013 supplement

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Competition for the valedictorian and salutatorian honors was extremely close with the number two student changing at the last minute when the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School grades were reported, according to NHS counseling office administrative assistant Holly Swann.

Holly Ann Sanford was recognized as the class of 2013’s valedictorian, graduating with a final grade point average of 4.2143. She is the daughter of Michael and Sheila Sanford. She will attend Radford University to study nursing.

In her address to her peers, Sanford urged graduates to do what makes them happy.

“So many people have asked me why I am attending such a small college instead of an Ivy League school, and my answer to them is simple. It’s my life and I’m doing what I think is best for me,” said Sanford.

Caitlyn Louise Cralle was named salutatorian. Cralle graduated with a final G.P.A. of 4.1167 and will attend The College of William & Mary. Her parents are Chris and Jeanette Cralle.

“Know that the sky is not the limit. There are footprints on the moon,” Cralle reminded the graduates.

NHS assistant principal Maggie Massie recognized a number of students with special awards. Elizabeth Hudnall was presented the honor award. Tatyanna Mitchell took the citizenship award and Caitlyn Cralle took the leadership award. The sportsmanship award went to Rashauna Carter and Aaron Lewis.

Commencement was truly a student affair with graduates taking part in all aspects of the ceremony. Nia Jones kicked things off with the singing of the national anthem. The cheers she received from NHS families and friends foreshadowed her first runner-up win in the RivahFest Idol singing competition in Tappahannock later in the day.

Graduates Nyasia Brown and Destiny Thornton, along with faculty member Martha Hicks, led the entire auditorium in the singing of the NHS Alma Mater. Hicks was also recognized by Cralle for her work in organizing the senior class trip to New York City.

Tara Jones, a public affairs strategist, was the commencement speaker. She urged students to finish what they start but to not be afraid to switch plans.

“You become what you believe,” Jones said.

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