The 2017 Anna High School Commencement ceremony took place on Thursday, June 2, to honor this year's graduates. Parents, grandparents, friends and family filled the stands of the packed gymnasium to watch their student cross the stage and receive his or her diploma.
“This is my second child of four to graduate,” Stefanie Wofford, mother of Anna senior, Avery Oonk, said. “I am feeling super emotional. I thought it would be easier this time around but it isn't. I thank God for giving me almost 19 years to look over her. She's in the Top 10 percent of her class. She really likes helping people so she is thinking about going into a field where she can do that.”
Wofford went on to explain that their family has had a tough year. Her husband had a life event last fall and was only given a 10 percent chance of survival.
“We are so grateful that he is able to see Avery graduate,” Wofford said. “Love your babies. Love conquers all. Do your best because there is no manual. Time is fleeting and moments like this only seem to last a second.”
Another parent for the Anna class of 2017, Ann Goade, expressed her excitement for her son Lawrence.
“This is my first to graduate,” Goade said. “This is all new for me. I am very excited for him. The other day it dawned on me that I am more excited for him than I am sad for me. We have family in town and will have a luncheon to celebrate.”
Lawrence Goade also voiced his feelings as he looks to the future.
“I am a little anxious,” Lawrence Goade said. “I am really looking forward to it but I am just a little anxious. Senior year really flew by. Nerves come with excitement and this is a whole new experience.”
Pete Slaughter, superintendent for Anna ISD, waxed nostalgic as he reminded the graduates that when he first came to Anna ISD 13 years ago as an elementary school principal, these students were part of his first kindergarten class.
“We wish you the best,” Slaughter said in his speech to the students. “You've been very successful here for the last four years. We expect nothing less of you as you enter this new chapter in your life. We love you, we appreciate you, and we hope to see many great things from you in the future.”
Speeches were given by both the salutatorian Madeleine Gillespie and the valedictorian Devin O'Neal. The students both sent messages of gratitude for their time in Anna as well as of encouragement for the challenges to come.
“The main thing that I wanted to express today is my belief that all of humanity is a beautiful thing,” Gillespie said to the crowd. “The world and the people in it should be celebrated and experienced. I want everyone sitting in front of me to leave this school and go out and see everything that life has to offer.”
“Today we are leaving behind the walls that, at times, have seemed more familiar than our own homes,” O'Neal said in her speech. “For many of us, Anna High School has served as a home away from home. I know, at times, my teachers' common phrases were more familiar than my own family's.”
After all of the speeches were made, songs were sung and recognition was received, the Anna High School class of 2017 walked across the stage one by one to receive their diplomas.