Tiger Stadium was packed to the brim on Saturday as Dawson County graduated its largest class of seniors.
Two hundred fifty-eight students crossed the stage to receive diplomas at Saturdays graduation ceremony. Of those, 91 were honor graduates, 124 students were eligible for HOPE scholarship, and 16 were eligible for the Zell Miller Scholarship, which requires a grade point average of at least 3.7.
Salutatorian Kara Hafermalz acknowledged that high school was amazing, but encouraged her class not to look back and think these were the best days of their life.
I hope and pray that I never hear any of you, myself included, refer to these past four years as the best years of our lives, she said. Because they arent. Our class is the largest to graduate from Dawson County thus far, and with 91 honor graduates we hold another school record. Our class is full of trendsetters, record-breakers and overall amazing people. Regardless of our achievements, however, none of us have reached our full potential. ... The best is yet to come.
Said valedictorian Chris Hamby, Some say that Americas glory days are over, that it is doomed to a slow decline at the hands of debt and recession. I believe those people are wrong, and this years graduating class proves that.
Hamby said his class is full of drive and passion. That same drive and passion will produce a whole new generation of professionals on fire to serve their community, he said.
Retiring School Superintendent Keith Porter said he could relate to a lot of the emotions the graduates were feeling.
With this being my last official act as superintendent and this being the last offical act as a student of Dawson County, I think I can relate to a certain extent, Porter said. Youre probably starting to feel a sense of separation from the many individuals with which you have become very close through the years. So am I.
He continued: Youre probably feeling a deep appreciation for all the individuals that have helped you along the wayparents, teachers, friends. So am I. Youre probably feeling a sense of accomplishment in having overcome obstacles to reach this special day. So am I. Lastly, youre probably feeling some apprehension for the future. Honestly, so am I.
But Porter told the graduates that now is the time to leave the comforts of their present situations. Dream big about your future, he said.
In addition to the record-breaking number of honor graduates, the class also had six students with perfect attendance for all 13 years of school, and 43 varsity teams qualifying for state playoffs and appearing in 54 state playoff games.