BHS Graduates 80 Students Friday

Parents, friends and relatives sat shoulder-to-shoulder Friday night, fanning themselves with programs inside Bourbon High School’s sweltering gymnasium to watch the Class of 2018 accept their diplomas and be sent off into the next phase of their lives. 

BHS Principal Dena Smith addressed students, expressing pride in how they grew over the years. 

“I’m proud of the individuals you have become,” Smith said, urging students to use life’s obstacles to better themselves and achieve their destinies. 

“Don’t use them as an excuse…you can’t be pitiful and powerful at the same time,” she said. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react. Don’t just endure, enjoy. Disappointment is inevitable. Misery is optional.”

Smith told students that popularity is being liked by other people, but true happiness is liking yourself.

“I challenge you to like yourself,” she said.

Bourbon Superintendent Patricia Thompson hearkened back to students’ elementary school days when she was their principal. She closed by reciting Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If,” then presented the class to receive their diplomas. 

The top academic honors went to valedictorian Madison Blackwell and salutatorian Ruchitaben Patel. Blackwell said that it was in school where she found her passions in life — FFA and animals. “I’m an aggie and proud of it,” she said. 

Blackwell recalled a turtle race in first grade involving a three-legged turtle. She couldn’t remember if that turtle missing an appendage won the race or not, but it didn’t matter because it crossed the finish line. She encouraged students to persevere.

“We may have difficulties, but we can cross that line, just like that turtle,” she said.

Patel thanked teachers and parents for their support. “They were there for us for when we needed them,” she said about teachers. “They would go the extra miles.”

She thanked parents for their unconditional love and enabling students to succeed. 

Patel recited inspirational quotes from Mahatma Gandhi as advice to her classmates. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever,” she said. Patel closed by urging fellow graduates to “always remember where you came from and always remember where you are going.”

Class president Blake Beckett took the stage and sang to Rascal Flatts’ ‘My Wish’ and told his classmates to follow their passions and stay true to themselves. 

“I…had the honor of going to school with some of the brightest individuals I’ll ever know,” Beckett said. “I wish you all nothing but happiness and success.”

Sullivan Independent News

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