The Duncan Banner
As the senior members of Reflections joined together to sing the national anthem, streams of rain pattered against the stage and mortar boards of Duncan High School’s graduating seniors.
But the voices of the Reflections members didn’t waiver. And the graduation ceremony continued as planned.
Friday night was Duncan High School’s commencement ceremony. Initial threats of rain failed to manifest any precipitation prior to the beginning of the event. But as seniors began to line up, many eyes were on the dark clouds rolling toward the stadium.
As the seniors filed into their rows in front of the stage, the rain began to fall. The administrators on stage conversed about moving the graduation into the auditorium, but protests from seniors, parents, family members and friends finalized the decision to keep the ceremony outdoors.
Everyone just dealt with the rain.
“I want to thank the parents, especially staying out here in the rain,” senior Kelsey Bridges said as she welcomed the seniors’ guests to the stadium.
Bridges was one of several students speakers to reference the rain in improvised moments in their speeches.
But not everything was about the rain.
Senior Class President Jenifer Jones spoke to her peers about the hard work they put forth to make it to graduation night.
“These years were filled with dedicating time to our studies,” Jones said. “Hard work always pays off. The best is all we can give.”
Several seniors were given a word to present to the students, teachers and family members in the audience.
Allison McMurran talked about friendship and applied the word to the friends she made through Duncan Public Schools. McMurran began by telling about how she walked into the wrong classroom on the first day of freshman year, but the difficulties of starting high school were calmed by the friends she made.
“I have made life-long friendships,” McMurran said.
“No one will be able to take those happy moments away.”
Samantha Cassidy talked about the community connection.
“We made it to graduation, and we’re going to get through it,” Cassidy began, referencing the rain.
“Look at the people around you. They aren’t strangers.”
She said they were strangers when they entered kindergarten. But over the course of 13 years, they became a community.
“Always remember: You can make a community out of a few random strangers.”
Dillon Stanley spoke of dedication, to which he said, it comes with goal-setting.
“The only way to reach your goals is to never give up,” Stanley said. “If anyone tells you life is easy, they’re lying.”
He said the goal everyone should strive for is to wake up at least 1 percent better than the day before.
Will Hugon brought faith to the podium.
Hugon said it took a lot of faith for the seniors to make it to graduation night. Whether the faith was in God or in themselves, he said the seniors had to keep faith to keep moving forward.
“Faith is really, really difficult to explain,” Hugon said. “Faith is believing in something. I have faith in all of you, and you should have faith in yourselves. It has taken a massive amount of faith to get us here today.”
The final speaker was Jack Braught, who was this year’s Crossman winner. Braught didn’t pass up the opportunity to joke about the rain before turning his attention to the impact of the night.
“What a wonderful evening,” Braught said, beginning his speech.
This elicited laughter and cheers from the audience.
Through Braught’s speech, he talked about how his senior classmates would go on to do great things. All they have to do is never give up, keep trying.
He mentioned Michael Jordan, how he never gave up and became one of the greatest basketball players of all time. This happened in spite of Jordan being cut from his high school basketball team early in his career.
“I truly believe we are a generation that will change the face of this planet,” Braught said.
“When opportunities come, take them.”