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Seniors’ last hoorah
FHS, BHS combined send more than 900 out into the world

Bearden High School’s Class of 2009 chose to base its commencement address on the quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” during its graduation ceremony Friday, May 15, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Before passing out diplomas to more the more than 400 members of the class, BHS principal Dr. John Bartlett said, “As I reflected on this quote that you, the Class of 2009, have chosen as your class quotation, I debated between two ways to approach the subject. I could not decide, so I have chosen both.”

Bartlett said he believed the most important lessons people can learn from King are passion and purpose and determination.

“He lived his life with passion. Passion to set the wrong right, passion to stand for his belief that people should be judged by the content of their character, passion for a better tomorrow, and passion for the less fortunate around him. His purpose is clear; his passion drove him. 

“Through all the challenges, obstacles and failures, he kept trying. He was put in jail; he kept speaking. He was assaulted; he kept marching. And, although he was threatened, he kept preaching. It was because he never gave up that in his death, his dreams are becoming reality. When people told him to stop, be quiet, accept life as it was, he knew what was right and continued to fight.”

Bartlett then told the story of the commissioning of Michelangelo’s “David.”

Having first commissioned Agostino di Duccio to complete a monument to enhance their city, the city council of Florence, Italy, asked the 26-year old Michelangelo to complete the project after di Duccio declared the marble purchased for him by the council useless.

“Michelangelo locked himself inside the workshop behind the cathedral to chisel and polish away on the stone for three years. When the work was finished, it took 49 men five days to bring it to rest before the city hall. Archways were torn down. Narrow streets were widened. The people from across Europe came to see the 14-foot statue of David.

“The giant stone had been transformed from the massive fractured waste of rock to a masterpiece surpassing the art of either Greece or Rome,” Bartlett said.

“I hope you see that the moral of this true story is not in the adversity in life that we face, but what you can do in the face of adversity. In this life, there will be moments of trial, challenge and controversy. It is the people who face these moments and see a masterpiece in the waiting that find true fulfillment,” he concluded.

BHS’ Class of 2009 had three valedictorians: Daniel Blaze, son of Christy and Douglas Blaze; Jennifer Dabbs, daughter of Cheryl and Bill Dabbs and Megan Schutt, daughter of Chuck and Lisa Schutt.

All three students tied for the honor with a grade-point average of 4.5.

Jennifer, who was active in the BHS theater department as a stage tech plans to attend The University of Tennessee in the fall and major in bio-chemical engineering. In her spare time, Jenny is an avid soccer player.

Megan also plans to attend UT to study nutrition “and possibly engineering of some kind,” she said. Besides being involved in Key Club, National Honor Society and Math Club, Megan said, “I play Bridge. I am a member of the American Contract Bridge League.”

Daniel, a member of Key Club, Latin Club, National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, spends a lot of his free time volunteering.

“Outside of school I do volunteer work with a group downtown called Joy of Music, which gives music lessons to kids whose parents can’t afford them. I teach piano to one girl and then I give about three or four more hours a week helping with yard work and things like that,” he said.

Daniel plans to attend Dennison University in the fall, but has not decided on a major yet.

“Maybe classics or physics,” he said.

All three valedictorians received National Merit Scholarships and Daniel was offered an additional $34,000 from the Paschal Carter Scholarship.


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