The Liberty High School Class of 2013 started high school as freshman who were “very immature and inappropriate,” but grew into a group that all the other students look up to, said class President Amir Williams.
“As sophomores we made a lot of bigger — but not necessarily better — decisions,” he said.
But as they became upperclassmen it was clear that other students followed their lead, Williams said.
“We all have the ability to influence,” he said.
The two keys this class should take into the real world are: Take the advice of parents, teachers and family members because they “do know what they’re talking about,” and care more about things, Williams said.
Going forward, the class should never let the fear of failure hold it back, he said.
“I believed and I do believe in the Class of 2013 even when others did or do not,” Williams said.
Williams and his classmates were among the 118 students receiving diplomas Friday night in a commencement ceremony at the high school’s football field. The stands were full of family and friends.
Jonathan Richmond, class salutatorian, echoed Williams mantra of perseverance.
“For the rest of our lives, we’re going to have to chose to follow our dreams,” he said. “Life’s not going to just hand it to us.”
Success will not be easy to achieve, and there will always be challenges, Richmond said. Too many people are willing to give up when life becomes difficult.
Richmond recalled his own struggles as a student to bring home that point. During his first few years of school he had to do special work to help him catch up in math and reading.
“My mom sat there every night and worked with me and told me that someday I would get it,” Richmond said. “Now I’m standing here in front of you at the top of my class.”
There were times when Richmond said he wanted to just give up and stop going to school, but he was able to persevere. He encouraged his classmates to do the same when faced with adversity.
This was a class “that made the teachers go crazy. They would hear about our class and they would just cringe,” said Taylor Kutsch, class valedictorian. “We were a class of rebels.”
But as the class grew, its attitude changed. It became a class that would be there for teachers or other students when needed, she said.
“We all have something about us that makes us special and that should make us proud,” Kutsch said.
The thing about moving forward is there is no longer a “core curriculum” to follow, she said. Everything in the future is an elective.
This was a talented class that has everything from successful athletes and scholars to rappers, dancers and musicians, Kutsch said.
“High school is a steppingstone to the rest of our lives,” she said.