On Friday May 20, hundreds of people gathered at the Dawson County High School football stadium to celebrate the graduates in the DCHS Class of 2022.
The commencement ceremony included the presentation of colors by the DCHS JROTC Color Guard, the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem performed by the DCHS Chamber Singers, and speeches by senior class officers, DCHS Principal Michael Negley, Salutatorian Jacob Hamil, Valedictorian Megan Wright and Superintendent Damon Gibbs.
In her address to the Class of 2022, Negley commended the graduates on their accomplishments and accolades that they have earned over the past year. She encouraged them to move forward into the next stage of their lives with the skills and knowledge they have learned from high school, but to never forget the community that they came from.
“Whatever you do and wherever you settle, remember one thing: once a Tiger, always a Tiger,” Negley said. “It’s about time to spread your wings, Class of 2022, but never forget your roots. You will always be in my heart and on my mind, and I will continue to pray daily for each and every one of you. I am so so proud of you. Congratulations.”
In his speech to his fellow graduates, Hamil reminisced on his high school experience and the challenges he has overcome, encouraging them to remember all that they have learned over their time in the Dawson County School System.
“As we leave this time together one last time as a senior class, may we remember all that brought us together, all that we accomplished, the memories we created, the difficulties, the happy times and may we look forward to a bright and prosperous future,” Hamil said.
Wright also recounted several memories from her time at Dawson County High School, thanking her fellow students and teachers for their support and friendship during her high school career.
"I will forever cherish my friends and the time we’ve spent together, and I will always remember the teachers who laughed with me, shared their own memories with me and taught me invaluable life lessons,” Wright said. “Do not forget your time in high school, but do not forget to grow as a person and make new memories. Reflect on the lessons you have learned here and use them to improve yourself and your community.”
She added that the lessons and memories that she and the rest of the graduates will take away from DCHS will be a cornerstone of their futures, whatever those may look like.
“From this point forward, none of us will have the same future,” Wright said. “We have shared many moments in our schooling so far, but as we split into countless different pathways remember your time at Dawson County High School and learn from it. Learn to be grateful, learn to utilize your skills and learn to leave the world a better place than you found it.”
In his final commencement address as superintendent before his retirement, Gibbs expressed his gratitude to the Board of Education, teachers and faculty, students and parents in the Dawson County School System.
In his address, Gibbs advised the graduates to be the best people they can be, turn to the Bible for answers, be aware that there are good and bad people in the world, be financially responsible, find employment and get a firm understanding of personal responsibility. As he wrapped up his address, Gibbs encouraged the graduates to always remember where they came from and thanked the school system for its support throughout his eight years as superintendent.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to be here tonight and wish you nothing but the very best in the future,” Gibbs said. “We leave here tonight stronger than ever. No matter where you go, never forget where you came from. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger. I pray that God will bless you in your next chapter of life. I love you Dawson County — thank you for a great eight years.”
The speeches were followed by the presentation of diplomas and the transfer of the tassels on the graduates’ caps from right to left to symbolize their official graduation. The commencement ceremony ended with a performance of the Dawson County Alma Mater, and graduates threw their caps in the air while fireworks went off on the end of the football field.
See below for more photos of the Dawson County High School Class of 2022 commencement ceremony.