By CINDY CROSBY
Colleton Preparatory Academy held its commencement for the Class of 2020 Thursday June 18 at 7 p.m. in the Colleton Preparatory gymnasium during which 34 candidates were presented diplomas, including 24 honor graduates.
Fourteen members of the Class of 2020 were recognized as 12-year graduates including Hannah Wilson, Jacob Barrett, Gabriel Barnes, Cody Carroll, Carroll Griffin III, Charlton Griffith, Jerred Griffith, Langley Harter, Nicholas Harvey, Chad Nathan, Tucker Stanley, John Tomedolskey, Jacob Tyler, and Braden Wood.
Following a processional of the board of directors, faculty and staff, the graduating seniors entered to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.” Head of School Jill Burttram welcomed the guests and was followed by the invocation given by Leroy Riley of Lifesong Church.
Jacob Cummings Anthony Barrett, salutatorian, addressed the audience saying, “To start off, I want to thank the people that made today’s graduation possible. Thank you, board of directors, for the continued support to us and our school, especially in these recent difficult times. Thank you, Mrs. Burttram, for being a wonderful head of school that we can all rely on, and thank you faculty and staff for teaching and guiding us throughout all these years. Now, I want to welcome all the parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, family members and friends to our graduation.”
Barrett went on to say, “Even though our senior year got cut short by some unfortunate events, I believe that we still have plenty of memories to look back on in the future as we reminisce on our years of being at CPA. Some of those memories are the ups and downs that we went through together, but in the end, we got through them because we’re a class; a group of friends, some of us who have been together 13 years, while others have joined us only a year or two ago. Either way, we will have impacted each other’s lives forever. And even though we may be going our separate ways, we will always remember each other for the rest of our lives.”
Valedictorian Hannah Elizabeth Wilson opened her commencement address saying, “We gather here today to celebrate the accomplishment of the Class of 2020, and even though it’s being celebrated on a different day, in a different way than originally intended, we still see the happiness, the memories, and even the struggles that led us to this point in our lives.”
Wilson closed her speech with, “The Lord reminds us in Proverbs 16:9 that ‘We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.’ That is the message I want to leave you as you venture out into the world, wherever that may take you. Be willing to overcome any challenge that you face to achieve what you want in life. I know the Class of 2020 is too stubborn not to.
“But something to remember while you are trying to overcome those obstacles in your life that was said by the great Dabo Swinney, the best football coach ever (sorry Carolina fans.) He said to ‘Let the light that shines in you be brighter than the light than shines on you.’ This means that no matter what situation you are in or whatever obstacle you are trying to beat, there is only one thing you can control while in that situation and that is what is going on inside of you. ‘No matter what obstacles you encounter, you can always take control of two things: your effort and your attitude.’ This can mean the difference between our success in overcoming the obstacle or succumbing to it. Class of 2020, as you go out into the world, hold your head high and never let anyone try and stop you from getting what you want for your life.”
The presentation of diplomas was given by Heath Griffith, chairman of the board of directors, and Sandy Smith, senior class sponsor, and was followed by the singing of the Colleton Preparatory Academy alma mater. The benediction was given by Leroy Riley before the Class of 2020 recessional to “Trumpet Tune” by Purcell.