There was a sense of celebration and appreciation throughout the J.M Carey Fieldhouse Thursday night in Velma.
With the graduation ceremony commencing for the Velma-Alma High School Class of 2013, came an assortment of emotions, all telling a story.
In total 31 students walked the stage to receive their diplomas on the evening.
Both Class President Zac Cable and Salutatorian L.L. Humphreys spoke about how joyous the occasion was for them and their classmates, but were also quick to thank those who got them there.
Following the rose ceremony, the graduating class was given a commencement address by former V-A graduate, and current college professor Jay McCurry.
McCurry’s speech was short, yet powerful and focused on telling the current V-A graduating class to focus on three things as they go on to college: Not quitting, not running from God, and focusing on communicating and applying things in life.
“Don’t ever quit, all college is about is interference,” McCurry said. “If you get knocked down, then you get up and press forward. If you don’t have a relationship with God, college is going to be very difficult. Don’t run from God, but run to him instead. I know applying things you learn in class can be unusual and unorthodox but it helps keep you from being stressed.”
Dallas Bare, Ty Dulworth, Whitney Hall and Kylee Saville were all honored as Valedictorians.
“I never thought I would have to stand up here and give my valedictorian speech,” Saville said. “This week our state suffered greatly, and through all this sorrow, God has shown we are blessed. Like our state, our town holds together when times are rough.”
Hall’s speech also focused on faith, along with her family and teachers.
“I could not have made it without the love and support of my savior Jesus Christ,” she said. “I’m so thankful for all my teachers, because without them, I would not be the person I am today. My parents have stood behind me in all my choices, and I’m so blessed to have them as parents in my life.”
With the final diploma presentation to Robert Suttles, came an emotional moment from principal Mike Thompson.
As Suttles proceeded to walk off the stage, he was casually pulled back where Thompson told the crowd about how Suttles unselfishly went to volunteer in Moore, OK just moments after learning about the devastation caused by the tornado.
Instead of walking off the stage to a normal applause, Suttles went back to his seat to a standing ovation from his peers and faculty members along with everyone else inside watching.