|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - June 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Diplomas awarded to 63 THS grads
Trinity Standard - June 2009
TRINITY – Encouraging his fellow graduates to stay true to themselves, Daniel Quan outlined his interpretation on “the meaning of life” during last week’s Trinity High School commencement ceremony.
Quan, the valedictorian of the Class of 2009, was one of 63 THS seniors to be awarded diplomas during the June 5 ceremony held at the Trinity Pines Conference Center near Trinity.
Superintendent Dr. Bobby Rice in his brief remarks noted that a total of 30 members of the class had earned scholarships to continue their educations beyond high school.
In addition to Quan, three other honor graduates spoke during the annual event. Brittany Ladnier presented the salutatory addr4ess, Shane Harberson gave the invocation and Garrett Walker presented the benediction to end the formal event.
Other honor graduates this year were Abigail McCollum, Nathan Lowe, Joshua Ivy, David Fish, Rachel Carrico, Emily Johnson, Kristin Maynard, Christopher Ellison and Alexandria Moro.
In his speech to his fellow graduates, Quan said he wanted to share his interpretation of the meaning of life.
“I really don’t have any guarantee that I know what the meaning of life is or that I know the best way to navigate through it,” he said.
Quan said first of all, the graduates have to figures out who they are.
“This sounds like a simple step, but most people spend their lives trying to figure out who they are. In order to discover this, you have to explore. Through exploration, you need to decide which words can best describe you… whether it be outgoing, funny or nerdy,” he said.
He said the graduates should try different hobbies as part of their exploration and they should study the people around them.
“Look at these people and see what you like and dislike about them. Of course, try to become what you like in them and try not to become what you dislike,” Quan added.
Once they understand who they are, he said the graduates need to “stay true to who you are.”
He noted that the ups and downs of day-to-day living will test their character but the graduates need to remain strong.
“Lots of people break under pressure and do something completely out of character. For instance, as Harvey Dent, under pressure, became Two-Face in the movie, The Dark Knight,” he added.
Quan noted that one of the best ways he has found to “stay true” is to lower stress levels.
“Through your exploration from the first part, you should have learned how to lower your stress,” he said. “It could be sitting in front of the television, reading a book, doing something active or even just hanging out with friends.”
The class valedictorian said the third part of the meaning of life was to continue to go back to the first part and rediscover who they are.
Quan noted that while people may not change, they continue to grow mentally.
“As a child grows into adulthood, there are many stages through which a person travels. At each of these ‘stages” there is a change in priorities.
“The person remains the same, but the actions of the person change. Because of these shifts in priorities, the words that once could define a person have changed. It is necessary to start back at the first part,” he said.
He noted that change is really just growth and that changes can be involuntary due to situations the graduates might face or voluntary because of decisions they may make.
During her speech, the class salutatorian recalled incidents from the classes’ four years of high school.
“Out high school years for the Class of 2009 have been like a rollercoaster ride,” Ladnier said. “Starting with our freshman year in fish camp, we couldn’t wait to be seniors so we could be “a part of something greater,’ the senior leadership team.
“But when the time arrived, we were disappointed because we didn’t get to do the things we thought we were supposed to do with our family groups, such as TAKS camp,” she added.
Ladnier also recalled the ups and downs of their senior year including problems encountered during the annual homecoming bonfire and the prom.
“Going through all this as a class has made us stronger and built friendships among us as a class that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” she said.
“Despite the bad experiences through high school, we can’t overlook the good times we have spend with each other, whether it be at sporting events supporting the team or playing your part on the team, hanging out at a friends house, or just a day out at the mall.
Ladnier also voiced her thanks to the coaches and teachers as well as to her parents, brother and friends for the support they gave her throughout her high school years.
“I can’t thank my friends and family enough for all they have done for me over the years. I know they are proud of me for everything I’ve accomplished and will continue to support me in whatever I decide to do.
“Although our high school years haven’t always been the best, I will cherish my memories with my classmates forever. Everything we’ve been through over these past four years has made us realize that it’s true what they say.
“’Life isn’t always fair, but you cant give in. Give it your all in everything you do and you will succeed,’” she said.