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May 13, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

The 165 members of the Class of 2022 at DCHS assembled for the last time Friday night on the occasion of their commencement looking back with fondness on their years together and with the hope and promise of a bright future.

Three members of the class were singled out for special recognition during the commencement. This year’s White Rose Awards went to Isaac Knowles and Faith Betancourt and the Citizenship Award was presented to Isaiah Harrington.

Awards were also presented to the Valedictorian Isabella France and the Salutatorian Jacey Hatfield.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the senior class with strong academic performance and contribution to the school and community and exemplary moral character.

The Citizenship Award is given to a student in the senior class who exemplifies strong academic performance and contribution to the school and community.

The honors, distinction, top rank, and service students were also recognized during the program which opened with an invocation by FCA member Isaiah Harrington, a performance by the DCHS Chorus and music theater classes, remarks by Class President Ian Paladino and Valedictorian Isabella France. FCA member Haidyn Hale delivered the benediction to close out the commencement.

First year Principal Bruce Curtis addressed the class saying he has enjoyed the year and he paid tribute to the seniors and their families and guardians.

“Seniors, it has been a privilege to be part of your life for this school year. The past four years you have withstood, endured, and overcome more than any other graduating class. It was my hope this school year to bring normalcy back to the lives of our DCHS students. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this school year as much as I. Parents, grandparents, and guardians of the senior class, you have raised some of the best young men and young ladies that I have ever had the privilege of working with. They are kind, fun loving, and respectful. You should be extremely proud of yourselves,” said Principal Curtis.

Despite the burdens and challenges of the pandemic, which began when these graduates were sophomores, Valedictorian France, in her remarks, said the Class of 22 persevered.

“Our class has overcome so many obstacles throughout our 4 years. As freshmen we walked into DeKalb County High School with hope that we would have the best 4 years of our lives. Little did we know as the scared little freshmen we were that we would only get 2 years of being able to learn inside the school building. Our class had to overcome a huge obstacle and I am so proud to say that we all did it. We had to figure out how to learn to transition from in school learning to remote learning in a matter of days. We also had to overcome the obstacle of not knowing what was to come. We had hope that our senior year could be as normal as possible. Thanks to the DCHS administration and DeKalb County School Board we have been able to get back to the normality of being in school without transitioning every few weeks. I would like to thank a couple of people that I have noticed have worked very hard to make this happen for us. Mr. (Patrick Cripps, Mr. (Bruce) Curtis, Mr. (Thomas) Cagle, and Mrs.(Jenny) Norris, you have all worked diligently to ensure that our senior year was not only consistent with in school learning but also memorable. On behalf of the class of 2022 we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your hard work and dedication,” said France.

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“To my family and friends, you have all been there through the victories and the tears and I cannot put into words how much I appreciate your strength, love, and support”.

To the class of 2022; Congratulations on all of your achievements. I have been blessed to watch you set goals and achieve them, so I know you will do great things in the future. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” We’ve held tightly to those dreams we’ve had since we were in kindergarten when we could only imagine what this day would look like or what would come next. Some of us have been given advice about life after high school. We’ve listened to other’s experiences and heard great stories. We’ve made mental notes and committed some advice to memory. But I believe, until we start this next journey, it is hard to understand it all,” France continued.

“There are so many emotions that go into the future. Right now, we feel excited that we get to embark on a new journey, hopeful that we accomplish our dreams, and even a little fear of the unknown. It is scary to begin a new transition, to move into a world that is unfamiliar or uncertain. But when I think of the Class of 2022, I see hope. Look at some obstacles we have overcome. We have experienced a health crisis that shut down our schools, yet we adjusted our learning styles and thrived. Our favorite activities were halted, yet we learned to become creative and regained our normalcy. Our nation shut down, yet we bounced back. We know what it means to be knocked down and get back up to fight. I know the strength we have gained will stay with us through future trials. The grace we have shown will guide us through disappointments. The resilience we have will help us get back up when we fall,” she said.

“Some of us will begin the workforce. Some of us will leave home for the first time and head off to college, and some of us will leave for the Military and serve our country. No matter what path each of you has chosen, my hope is that you will go in confidence. And reflect on your resilience and strength, and remember, that while we do not know entirely what the future holds, we know the One who holds the future”.

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“Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong! Be fearless! Don’t be afraid and don’t be scared of your enemies, because the Lord is the one who marches with you. He won’t let you down, and he won’t abandon you.” We know that through our journeys, we will experience an abundance of emotions: excitement, uncertainty, disappointment, triumph, or even loss. But never lose hope. And know that we, as the next generation of leaders , will step into the challenge at hand, adjust through change, be resilient during adversity, show grace when others fail us, and never stop pushing to be the best versions of ourselves. Thank you, Class of 2022, for all the wonderful memories. I will take a piece of you with me, and I will continue to hope for the brightest future for you all,” said France.

In his remarks, President Ian Paladino said it has been an honor to have been the leader of the Class of 2022 and believes the class has represented DCHS well.

“At the beginning of the year I decided to run for president just to see if I could get it and I did.

Although sometimes I feel like I could’ve been doing better at my job I am grateful for this
opportunity and thankful for everyone’s support,” said Paladino.

“Remember who you are and what you represent. That’s what my mom would tell me and my siblings every day before school when I was younger, and that is what her mother used to tell her when she was a child. It became something that I heard so often that it kind of became an empty phrase of sorts, but when you sit and think it makes you wonder: Who am I and what do I represent? I’m proud of this class and the things that we have accomplished because I can honestly say that we made an impact in our community this year and that we represented our class well. My hope is that we continue to represent ourselves and each other well as we enter this next chapter of our lives. So when we leave this place and go wherever we go just remember who you are and who you represent, and represent it well,” said Paladino.

After the speeches, awards, and recognitions, the graduates formed a line and one by one filed past the podium to receive their diplomas, each one shaking hands and posing for pictures with Principal Bruce Curtis as their names were called as follows:

Jazmin Mekole Abston, Kennedy Grace Agee, Kevin Alexander Aguirre, Hannah Elizabeth Allen, Brookelynn Grace Anderson, Sophia Eileen Angeletti, Sean Brayden Antoniak,

Dawson Luke Bandy, Bentley Paige Barber, Kenya Marie Batey, Sebastian Bazaldua Rivera, Faith Jewely Betancourt, Jasmine Marie Bilbrey, Lanis Twain Bratcher, Mackenzie Paige Brindley, William Blain Butterbaugh,

Joanie Michaela Campbell, Jenna Lea Cantrell, Patrick Ian Cantrell, Zackary Ian Cantrell, Selena Marrie Cardin, Ethan Cole Carter, Caden Allen Clark, Marissa Brooke Clark, Morgan Remmington Clifton, Cordell Hayden Collier, Katherine Grace Colwell, Alexandra Bethany Cook, Kaley Reanne Cook, Makayla Nicole Cook, Lynsie Paige Cooper, Diego Scott Coronado, Breanna Gabrelle Cothern, Conner Lee Crabtree, Nathaniel Preston Crook, Summer Marie Crook, Silas Mark Cross, William Allen Curtis,

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Evelyn Marie Day, Carter Gregory Dias, Erykah Sharronne Duverne,

Allison Danielle Eastes, Jeremiah D. Elswick, Dexton Bradley Emberton, Logan Wyatt Entrekin, Orlando Jose Escobedo, Ricardo Alfonso Escobedo,

Savana Elizabeth Faulton, Maggie Fay Felton, Michael Daniel Fender, Kadee Beth Ferrell, Kaitlin Melia Ferrell, Hannah Erin Finan, Kavaughn Kamanao John Fisk, Isabella Grace France,

Melasia Lavone Gilles, Devin Mackenzie Green,

Brady Houston Hale, Charles Carter Hale, Chloe Isabella Hale, Haidyn Renee Hale, Jackson Dakota Hale, Lucas Ryan Hale, Hannah Dawn Hall, Zoe Grace Hardrick, Isaiah Lee Harrington, Caitlyn Rene Harwell, Jacey Anne Hatfield, Grayson Scott Hendrix, Tori Danielle Hensley, Yahir Gabriel Herevia Perales, Jonathan Hernandez, Kelsy Isabell Hernandez, Kyleigh Breanne Hill, Christina Helen Howard, Kaia Leigh Howard, Lindsey Kristen Hutchins,

Marley Elizabeth Jones, David Bryson Judkins,

Matthew Daniel Keaton, Kolter Garrett Kilgore, Michael Scott King, Isaac Dwight Knowles,

Madison Nicole Lack, Joshua Peyton Lackey, Rebecca Gwen Lawrence, Jonathan Daniel Lawson, Shanti Liu, Selena Isela Lomas Torres, Courtney Elizabeth London, Robert Allan Luna,

Ethan Chase Marshall, Braden Wayne Martin, Elian Josue Martinez, Javontae Alexander Martin, Kevin Alexis Martinez-Soto, Richard David Martinez, Aaron Ancil Meadows, Haylee Cassandra Merriman, Alexandria Cheyenne Morris, Hannah Grace Mullican, Kaylee M. Mullican, Brenda Lucia Muniz Guzman, Haley Michele Musick,

Malayna Nichole Nokes,

Logan Ryan O’Conner, Reanna Catherine O’Connell, Sergio Andres Ortega,

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Cody Ashton Pack, McKenzie Elizabeth Pack, Ian Michael Paladino, Riley Austin Palmer, Tylan Cole Panker, Tyler Lynn Parsley, Ariel Brooke Patterson, Kennedy Grace Polk, Harrison Puckett Pryor, Addison Jean Puckett,

Diana Evelyn Ramirez, Madelyn Rose Ray, Madison Brooke Ray, Tehana Leigh Richey, Justin Abel Rico, Martha Soledad Rico Serna, Keirstine Brooke Robinson, Kessie Ella Robinson, Victoria Nicole Rodano, Addison Gray Roller, Robert Matthew Rowe,

Elizabeth Annagale Seber, Ethan Jamison Sexton, Amarious Javod Shaw, Nancy Michelle Silva, Natalie Morgan Snipes, Brandon Tyler Sobotka, Avery Alan South, William Skyler Southard, Kiley Izabella Speaks, Mackenzie Leigh Sprague, Payton Leve Summers, Cheyenne Dorakay Sutton, Brandon Lynn Sykes,

Olivia Hope Taylor, Kaydence Ranee Thompson, Rainey Danielle Tiner, Alexander Torres Soto, Jamison Ross Trapp, Steve Dylan Trapp, Brayden Deshaun Tubbs, Alexus Grace Turner,

Jesus Alfonso Vega Nunez,

Hagen Wayne Waggoner, Trad Edward Sparkman Wann, Savanna Rene Warren, Ellie Elizabeth Webb, Sadie Rian West, Aidan Garrett Whitman, Allison Joy Wilbur, Erin Taylor Williams, Jathan Roth Willoughby, Lydia Caroline Willoughby, Bailey Marie Winfree, Thomas Parker Winfree,

Jordan Michael Young,

and Angel Gabriel Zapien.

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