WHS grads ready for what’s next

WILLIAMSTOWN -A swarm of 90 Yellowjackets graduated from Williamstown High School on the football field Tuesday evening.

In his speech to the Class of 2014, Valedictorian Ryder Deem spoke about what lies ahead for the class.

“The future is not something we enter; the future is something we create,” he said. “This evening serves as a ceremonial passing into the next journey of our lives, whether it be going off to college, the armed forces, the work force or whatever else you may desire to do with your life. However, we did not all of a sudden come to this point…You cannot simply forget all of the things you have had to do to get here…All of us have had to overcome adversity at one point or another to create the future that we now call the present.”

Deem advised using successes at high school while moving onto the next phase.

“Take what you’ve done here and use it to catapult yourself even further,” Deem said. “I know this class can do great things if we just capitalize on our opportunities to forge the path to greatness properly.”

In her speech to the graduating class, Salutatorian Kaitlyn Fulks said her classmates can be anything that they dream.

“”We all want to contribute something amazing to the world,” she said. “But it will take dedication, determination, self-discipline and a whole lot of effort to achieve that.”

Graduate Emily Dunn said she is both excited and anxious to move on from high school. For her, the next step will be attending nursing school.

“I’m going to WVU-P and it’s nerve-wracking,” she said.

Likewise, graduate Kristen Dietz said she’s also going to nursing school.

“I’m scared to death, but I’m ready to get it over with,” she said. “I’m really excited about it.”

Classmate Aaron Leo said there’s nothing to be nervous about.

“I’m not nervous; I’m excited,” he said. “This is the next step.”

Principal Pat Peters said the graduates have done great things at the school.

“Someone once told me that the life you live is a legacy you leave for tomorrow,” Peters said. “You at Williamstown High School are leaving quite the legacy and you definitely have left your mark.”

He went on to give three simple pieces of advice.

“If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it,” he said. “If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. And if you do not step forward, you’ll always be in the same place. I’d like to tell you all to remember, if Plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet.”

Peters said no matter what the future holds, the graduates will never be alone; they’ll always have the backing of the community.

“No matter where you go or what you become, you’ll always be a Yellowjacket and yellowjackets travel in swarms,” he said.

Mark Knight, 46, said he had mixed feelings about his daughter, Shannon, graduating.

“I’m happy, relieved, but it’s bittersweet,” he said. “I’m just glad it’s over, now onto the next.”

Shannon said she’s ready for the next phase of her life.

“I’m going to WVU-P to get a nursing degree and I’m super excited,” she said. “I feel like since I made it through high school, I can make it through anything.”