Farragut High School Class of 2016 graduates started a new chapter in their lives after they passed their tassels over their caps at their commencement exercises in Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, May 21.
During the ceremony 418 students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.
“As you move forward, stay true to yourselves,” Stephanie Thompson, FHS principal, said.
Kaci Deakins, commencement speaker, urged her fellow graduates to “change the water.”
“Deakins, referred to Cinderella to tell how the graduates obtain their happy ever after is their choice.
“Now, it’s time to choose our path,” Deakins said. Along the way, she said failure should be seen as an opportunity, not a roadblock in their path.
In another story, she talked about a mother who took three pots of boiling water to teach her daughter about adversity. In one, the mother put carrots. In another, she put eggs, and in the third, she put coffee.
“When they were affected by adversity, each reacted differently,” Deakins said. “Are you a carrot, an egg or coffee?”
She urged graduates, when faced with adversity, to change the circumstances around them, as the coffee had changed the water,
Jasmine Park spoke on the “Ocean of Inexplicability.”
“Today, we are leaving a small pond and walking into a tidal wave,” Park said. Using Thomas Henry Huxley’s quote. “The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability,” to urge graduates not to be afraid of the unknown.
“As we are leaving high school today, many of us are unsure what we will do next,” she said. “Rather than cower, embrace what it is to be a small person.”
Gregory Matthew Phillips, graduate speaker, urged students, in his address” to “live in the moment.”
“Procrastinating sometimes helps us to live in the moment,” Phillips said. “Focus on the journey, not the path. Allow in a
little bit of fun. We will each travel to different destinations. Make some time to stop along the way.”
During the ceremony, graduates remembered fellow classmates they had lost, such as Taylor Corum, Kristin Farley and Nicole Kalister, and students’ accomplishments, such as the success of Science Olympiad team members James Terrell and Matthew Fisher, who won the state competition and competed in the nationals while their fellow students were graduated.
“What we learned fosters our love for STEM,” Terrell said.
Thompson announced Liana Hu was chosen valedictorian and Ronik Sheth and Daniel Yan were chosen salutatorians. Yan had made a perfect score on the SAT.
Thompson said a little more than $34 million in scholarships were given. Of the 418 graduates, 71 percent will go on to a four-year college, 26 percent will go
to a two-year college and 1
percent —six students are going into the military.
Meanwhile, Jonathan East, FHS curriculum principal, announced Valarie Cagle, English teacher, as recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award. Cagle wiped away tears as she walked up to the stage.