Members of the Sumter County High School Class of 2024 receive their diplomas and become graduates

Published 11:31 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

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AMERICUS – On a balmy Friday evening in front of a jam-packed crowd at Alton Shell Stadium, 214 members of the Sumter County High School Class of 2024 realized their dream for the past 18 years. In front of numerous cheering families and friends, they received their long-sought high school diplomas, along with the thrill and pride of becoming Sumter County High School graduates.

After the opening procession and and the National Anthem, Student Government Association (SGA) President Jalen Wallace gave the invocation and the opening welcome.

“Today marks a significant milestone in our lives: an accumulation of hard work, dedication and unwavering determination,” Wallace said. He went on to say that he and his fellow graduates have been instilled with the knowledge, skills and values to be catalysts for change and that they can lead, inspire and innovate in whatever path they choose to pursue. He challenged his fellow graduates to carry that “spirit of innovation that defines our alma Mater” into whatever path they choose.

“My fellow graduates, as we stand and walk across this stage today of a new beginning, let us embrace the unknown with open arms, confident in our ability to innovate, adapt and thrive to change the world. Congratulations to the Class of 2024,” Wallace said in the conclusion of his speech.

After the playing of the song “Let it Shine”, Salutatorian Willie Burts and Valedictorian Christopher Ingram both touched on the subject entitled “A Journey Awaits Us” in their speeches. Burts began his speech by expressing his deepest appreciation to all of the families for their love, hard work and sacrifice in helping to make this day possible. “Today, we stand here as a testament to your love and dedication,” Burts said. He also expressed appreciation to the teachers who bestowed knowledge and wisdom to them. “Your guidance has been invaluable and we are forever indebted to you for believing in us and pushing us to reach our fullest potential,” Burts said. Burts then told his fellow graduates that they not only are celebrating their academic accomplishments, but also the friends they have formed and the memories they have created. He also stated that as they embark on the next chapter of their lives, they should carry with them the lessons they have learned and the values that have been instilled in them by Sumter County Schools. “As we move forward, let us never forget the importance of kindness, empathy and dedication,”Burts said. “Let us strive to make a positive difference in the world and to leave a lasting impact on those around us.” He concluded his speech by stating that he and his fellow graduates should embrace the future with optimism and enthusiasm.

In his speech to the crowd and his fellow graduates, Valedictorian Christopher Ingram reminded them all that he and his fellow graduates had to navigate tough challenges and obstacles in their high school careers, such as the COVID Pandemic. Ingram then thanked all of the families for all of their support and stated that this victory not only belongs to he and his fellow graduates, but belongs to them as well. “We are here today because of you and we hope to make you proud as we embark in the next chapter of our lives,” Ingram said. He also took time to thank the faculty and the administrators for inspiring and challenging him and his fellow graduates to think differently, ask questions and to dream big. “Thank you for being more than just educators,” Ingram said. “You assured that we obtained a transformative education during adversity. You are guides, counselors and more than anything, our friends. He then addressed is fellow classmates by stating that they stand at a doorway to a world full of possibilities. “It is up to us to seize those opportunities that lie ahead and to use our unique talents and passage to create a better future, ”Ingram said. “Let us go forth with courage and the belief in our ability to make a change.” Ingram concluded his speech by saying that the bonds he and his fellow classmates have formed must stay together and that they must stay in touch, support each other and inspire each other. “We are not just a graduating class, but a community bonded by shared experiences that will forever unite us, so congratulations Class of 2024,” Ingram concluded.

Once Ingram had concluded his speech, one by one, the 214 members of the Sumter County High School Class of 2024 received their diplomas to the thunderous applause of family and friends.