(Douglas High's graduation was Friday night. Class member Elizabeth Turner shared the text of her graduation speech about the class' history.)
We are drawing to the end of an era. Who would have ever dreamed that when we started school in August of 2006 that we would be standing on the threshold of adulthood today?
Many of us entered the doors of Sloman Primary as strangers in a strange place like aliens from another planet, and today we are gathered together as friends. Throughout the years we have really gotten to know each other, some better than others, but we are a family - this class of 2019.
I am proud to reount some of our great and not so great accomplishments and experiences of our 13-year Eagle journey.
Kindergarten, or kinner-gartan as most of us pronounced it, has now become a blur. Those were the easy days of color sheets, ABC’s, learning our address and phone numbers, and my personal favorite -NAP time. We were 5-year olds walking around without a clue. Our parents took us as tiny seeds to this kinder-garden to plant us in the fields of education.
I remember how we were so excited to ride the school bus to the pumpkin patch to pick out gigantic pumpkins, and to the botanical gardens where we had a class photo made in the big Adirondack chair.
First grade brought new challenges like no more nap time and lots of new ways to count numbers. A lot of us girls thought we were really grown up because we were mini-me and pee-wee cheerleaders. The boys were all so proud to wear their jerseys on Fridays just like their varsity counterparts.
Second grade was much like first grade except we were now the big dogs on the playground. We would all run for the big tire where us girls would hang out and talk about the boys, until the boys would run us out. I remember that Jason Richards would take off running and dive headfirst into the middle of that tire and all the boys would join in. Those were the days that the girls chased the boys and the boys chased the girls.
Some of those chases lead to the top of the monkey bars where classmates like Jack Sims and Brooklynn Davis landed at the bottom with broken limbs.
Third grade brought huge changes as we learned to change classes as groups. The struggles started early on as we were forced into DIBBLES testing (You know when they made us read as fast as we could even though we couldn’t say most of the words; thanks Mrs. Gilliland).
Then they politely eased us into multiplication where we had to memorize the multiplication tables as fast as we could.
Third grade stressful. Third grade was also the first time we had organized dances where the boys were too scared to dance with the girls.
Fourth grade was quite the experience. We learned new things about science and history. We also got to go to the computer lab and play “Ticket to Read”.
Let us not forget those days of special snack where we went outside and got to play and enjoy our slushies.
Fifth grade that was the transition year to get us ready for middle school. We had 5 different classes, and no one went to the same class as a group anymore. That year everyone got boyfriends and girlfriends, and the boys were no longer scared to dance with the girls at the dances. We were once again the big dogs on the playground.
We were no longer seedlings but now sturdy sprouts with our roots growing deep in our learning. We were stretching for bigger things to come as we turned towards the sun of middle school.
Sixth grade was when many of us met our new favorite teacher for the first time, Mrs. Walker, who did not even use her real name, by instead she was just plain BWOK!
If you didn’t go to Mrs. BWOK, you went to band, and this is where we started to divide. Sixth grade was full of chaos because we were yet again at the bottom of the food chain. We were little kids in a world full of evil giants; mixed P.E classes where 8th graders liked to hit 6th graders (myself included) in the heads with volleyballs.
Meanwhile sweet Mrs. Shed/Coker had beanbag chairs and we would all argue over who got to sit in them during independent reading time.
In seventh grade, everyone became famous. Famous football players, cheerleaders, track members, basketball players, and finally band and choir members. We lost our first classmate, Jeremy Jordan, who will forever be part of the class of 2019.
Eighth grade was where all the boys hit their growth spurt except Jared Teal. Now we were the giants of the middle school. We thought we could rule the school; then we met Coach Gil.
Coach Gil believed in learning by osmosis. He assumed we students would learn better if the information was thrown at us instead of set before us.
The best part of middle school was always field day. The worst part was earning all those AR points to make it to field day.
Eighth grade field day was one for the books. A few students were caught playing spin the bottle out behind the trees and got into BIG trouble.
Freshman year brought our first homecoming week, first time participating in Harvest Festival reps, first Eagle Week, first opportunity to take online classes, etc. Freshman year held a lot of firsts.
This was the year we built our time capsules that we are desperately waiting to revisit.
Sophomore year was filled with more memorable moments; some extremely fun and others not so much. This was the year Eagle Week skits were based on decades and our class rocked the hits of the 2000s; where Alyssa Williams danced to the song “Cyclone.” Brandon Williams broke his leg the first play of the first jamboree game.
On Dec. 1, tragedy struck our class once again when we were all called to the lunchroom to be told two amazing classmates of ours were in a life threatening car wreck. Jaden Naylor and Brady Goble were in a horrific accident where Jaden was paralyzed, and Brady became our shining diamond in the sky.
Junior year we finally came together as a class. Jared finally got taller; we had 3 foreign exchange students Dario, Finnja, and Jenny; basketball did well (as usual).
Brandon Williams was at it again breaking that wrist not once but twice in football. Junior year was also the year of fear… the fear that we were all going to fail English, because Mrs. Thurman’s essays were way too hard. The pressure of taking the ACT sheered the light as we dominated the senior class of 2018 for Eagle week. Our Mulan skit was lit especially with Trevor playing Mushu and doing that tongue thing - you know?
Senior year, where do I start? From day one we have all been infected with senioritis including Mrs. Martin. The football team won a game this year. Brandon Williams yet again broke a bone; this time his back.
Allie Tarvin was crowned Homecoming queen. We lost homecoming to the juniors but pulled it together and dominated Eagle Week.
Then came prom, and Aryn Adams and Jared Teal got crowned prom queen and king. Senior circles have been hard, and every time we heard the alma mater play, we knew we were coming one step closer to the end of our Eagle journey.
We started this journey in August 2006, as little seeds in a big kindergarden, and we have grown from seedlings to sprouts to big tall stalks with heads on our shoulders and now we are blooming. We are blooming to chase the sun even on rainy days. We have become a field of wild tall sunflowers. This is for my class of 2019, from the poem "Advice from a Sunflower."
"Be bright, sunny, and positive. Spread seeds of happiness. Rise, shine, and hold your head high.”