BUCKHANNON – More than 250 seniors graduated from Buckhannon-Upshur High School on Friday.
The Class of 2022 and their loved ones gathered in Rockefeller Center on West Virginia Wesleyan College’s campus, where students walked across the stage and earned their diplomas. Principal Jonathon Pollock said the Class of 2022 had achieved a lot by graduation and they will continue to achieve more.
“You’re going to have to trust in yourselves, you’re going to have to trust in your loved ones, you’re going to have to trust in all of the things that you have learned, that have brought you to this point right now,” Pollock said. “You have to trust in your intellect, but there are times when all of those things — either due to exhaustion or anything else — those things can fail you. But I will give you one little piece of advice: iIn all my time, there’s one part of me that I know has always guided me right when everything else melted away… and it will guide you right, too, until the day of its last beat. And that’s your heart.”
Graduate Caden Andrick asked his classmates to reflect on their four years together, including the global pandemic they went through together.
“We are gathered here today as a class one final time to celebrate our accomplishments and say goodbye to high school,” Andrick said. “I’m extremely proud of this class and I am beyond grateful that you all selected me as one of your speakers this year.”
He said all of the seniors assembled for graduation are about to make important decisions about their futures, and there is an unspoken pressure to succeed.
“Of course, pressure can have positive impacts, yet this kind of pressure has caused me to wonder what it means to be successful,” Andrick said. “Initially, my thoughts were directed towards someone with lots of money and fame; however, as I have discussed this topic with family and friends, I have realized that success is what you make it, and every one of you sitting here today is going to venture down your own path and redefine what it means to be successful.”
He said the road ahead will not be easy.
“The road ahead might not be easy, but in all honesty, that’s going to be life. I want to challenge you all to remember that success is not a destination to be reached, but rather a state of being,” Andrick said. “Class of 2022, you are enough, and you are all destined for greatness. Whatever path you choose after today, go out there, chase your dreams, be bold, pursue your own success and be you.”
Graduate Kaitlyn Shannon said she was proud of her class and how close they remained during their time at B-UHS.
“I’d like to start by expressing how proud I am and how far our class has come and all we have achieved together,” Shannon said. “I am so grateful to be able to speak today on this stage in front of all our family and friends; we all know we could not be here without them. I love how close our class is to one another, which is why I believe we have made such a great impact on this school.”
She urged her class to not rush through their lives.
“I know all of you want this to be short so we can graduate and get out of here,” Shannon said of the ceremony. “Half of you are zoned out, not even paying attention, and I get it, we want to rush this moment the same way we’ve been rushed to make decisions about our futures our whole life. I just want to say that you have time, even though it may not seem like it. You don’t have to figure your whole life out right now.”
She also told them not to squander opportunities and to make the most out of their experiences.
“We only get one life, one chance to meet new people, one chance to experience life to the fullest,” she said. “Do what is going to make you live your best life. Time is not promised, so make your life memorable and take opportunities so that you would want to live it over again 1,000 times. Try new things and find what makes you truly find happiness. I can’t wait to see how successful all of us become and the beautiful memories we will all make as we get older.
“Always remember, when times get tough, Pitbull once said, ‘Mr. Worldwide, been there done that, every day above ground is a great day, remember that.’ I love you guys. Thank you and goodbye!”
Below are some scenes from Friday’s ceremony: