|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
Years of memories fill 2011 graduation
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – The joy of new beginnings was tempered Friday with memories of loss as 67 members of the Trinity High School Class of 2011 were awarded diplomas. The class bid their farewells to public school life before a large crown of family and friends at Tiger Stadium. For the first time, the commencement ceremony followed a special reception for the graduates and their families in the Trinity High School gym. During the ceremony, class valedictorian Kelsey Clopton reminded her fellow graduates of the loss they suffered during their first year of high school when their classmate, Kevin “KB” Bryant Jr. was killed. The 15-year old died during the early morning hours of Dec. 1, 2007, while returning from a hunting trip with other members of the Trinity Tiger football team. He sustained a single gunshot to his head when a classmate’s gun accidentally fired. “Through the trials and tribulations, friends we must remember that God places the heaviest burdens on those who can carry its weight,” Clopton said. “Freshman year when we were faced with the tragic loss of KB, a beloved classmate whom we will forever miss, we were scared, but together we had the courage to keep strong,” she added. In her address, Clopton also expressed he thanks to her family, friends, teachers and classmates for their support during he school career. “Many of us started school together and along the years many other friends have joined,” she said. “We have always had the courage to achieve great things and we are not afraid to speak up and have a voice. “As we sit her tonight awaiting our chance to walk across the stage, we will think about all the hard work, dedication, courage, and of course, all the fun we’ve had along the way. “Tonight is out night to celebrate, our night to laugh, our night to cry and our night to dream.” The valedictorian noted that the graduates would all begin new chapters in their lives at the close of the ceremony and she urged them to “never forget our years at Trinity High School. She also noted that in the years ahead when they face fear, they must remember the bonds they made in school and the courage they all developed at THS. “As we go forth on our separate paths, remember to always stand out and be a leader because we, the Class of 2011 from Trinity High School, will always have courage,” she said. In his speech to his classmates, class salutatorian Reid Felchak urged them to set goals and seek success. “At any given time we may look around ourselves and see the world moving at such an incredibly fast pace that we can’t possibly keep up with all of the happenings of other people and nations,” he said. “The media feeds us an extreme amount of information and expects us to keep up with every aspect of someone else’s success or failure. “Whose income in the highest, who won the lead role in this year’s big movies, what nations are at war, whose economy is growing and whose economy is failing? “I for one, feel as though the media is giving our generation a terrible frame of reference for measuring our success,” he said. He noted that when the Class of 2011 entered high school each member set goals they hoped to accomplish over the next four years. “Unfortunately, I think every single one of us realized pretty quickly that sometimes our goals were a little farfetched. “I wanted to be a varsity player on every sports team of which I was a part during my freshman year. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t. I wasn’t even part of one varsity team.” Felchak noted that when setting goals, they should set their sights on things they can actually conquer in “the real world.” He noted that everyone’s definition of success will be different but urged each of his classmates to seek that success. “Whatever you choose to do, no matter how simple it may seem, if you accomplish your goal, then you are successful. I want everyone graduating tonight to be successful in whatever you choose,” he said.