In the four years that has been open, the class of 2011 set the bar with its hard work, outgoing nature and immense potential.
The first class to graduate was made up of a very tiny group of students who transferred from other schools and moved in from other cities; as a result, they probably didn’t feel as connected to the school.
Members of the class of 2011, on the other hand, became role models because of their open-mindedness and push to make a change at Dougherty Valley High.
They were responsible for many of the traditions that were set throughout the past couple years, they became leaders of clubs that they built from the ground up, and they were the faces that everyone, including the incoming freshmen, recognized because of their accomplishments and effort. Most of all, they helped Dougherty Valley feel spirited and united.
Last Friday afternoon, 100 percent of the students graduated with an enormous crowd of parents, siblings and students supporting them from the bleachers. According to one of the graduating seniors, Rabeea Abbas, more people attended than were expected.
Since Dougherty does not do an overall class rank there were no valedictorians. Instead there were speeches by students Jasmine Kriston, Jega Vigneshwaran, Zach Rice and Adam Hillayer. The words of teacher Gregory Duran, who had been chosen by the majority of the senior class to say something, were "heart touching," said Rabeea Abbas.
Principal Denise Hibbard gave a speech to the last class at Dougherty Valley High that she would see graduate (). The presentations of the diplomas took about an hour and afterward everyone threw up their hats in bittersweet celebration.
"I really liked Adam Hillyer's speech about doing what brings you happiness and success and that success isn't only defined by material things but rather your own achievements," said student Jennie Kim.
Everyone who had been touched in some way by these amazing people wishes them nothing but success and happiness in whatever path they decide to take in the future. Graduating does not mean the end but rather a new beginning.
Or, in the wise words of Travis Bell, our leadership teacher: “Wildcats don’t say goodbye, they say 'see you later.' ”