Daleville High seniors celebrate graduation

BY Jan Murray jmurray@southeastsun.com

Daleville High seniors celebrate graduation
Seventy-one seniors walked across the stage at the Daleville City Schools Gymnasium Friday evening, May 20, to receive long-awaited diplomas from Principal Joshua Robertson. The ceremony was to have been held at Warhawk Stadium but was moved to the gymnasium due to inclement weather. The Daleville High School Band, led by Director Mark Nichols, played the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates walked into the gymnasium before friends, family and school and city leaders. Senior Class President Magdiel Rosario Orta welcomed the crowd before Valedictorian Matthew Koch and Salutatorian Teressa Montalvo gave their traditional speeches to their peers.Robertson and Interim Superintendent Dr. Diane Flournoy recognized 19 honor graduates. Those graduating with full honors were: Koch, Montalvo, Orta, Jazzmine Alvarado, Alexis Aquino, Caitlin Barr, Latonya Clark, Benjamin Clubb, Andreana Dunlap, Sasha Godfrey, Eternity Hayes, Rick Hemion, Kelsi Hollandsworth, Eli Lewis, Nashaly Lugo-Rivera, Savannah Lynch, Tae Myles, Jebulyn Thompson and Elijah Wilson. The honor graduates, along with 14 other students in the class, received more than $2 million in scholarships.One of the graduates, Jonah Nabinger, said it felt “exhilarating” to walk and get his diploma and said his senior year “flew by quickly.” The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps National Championship was noted as his favorite highlight of the year because he “shot some of my best scores.”Nabinger will leave for boot camp with the United States Marine Corps on Aug. 8, after which he expects to go to military police school and train as a canine handler.Sierra Keys will be leaving in August to begin her post-secondary studies at the University of Alabama. She plans to eventually be a defense attorney.Like Nabinger, Keys said her senior year went by very quickly.“It flew by. For senior year, I decided I was going to go to all the football games. I was going to give it my all at the pep rallies and go above and beyond and I did,” said Keys. “It went by really, really fast. But, I would not trade all the activities I did for anything because now I can look back now and see those.”As for walking across the stage and receiving her diploma, Keys said she was nervous and “didn’t want to be the one to fall” and it “was unreal and like nothing I had ever imagined.” She compared it to riding on a rollercoaster for the first time because it happened so fast and “you don’t know what to expect and it’s over in like 30 seconds…It felt like, ‘wow, I did it.’”Sasha Godfrey, an honor graduate, spent her senior year in the roles of drum major for the Pride of the South Marching Band, as a cadet lieutenant colonel commanding the Warhawk Battalion of the JROTC and as the city’s queen attending municipal and chamber of commerce functions. She was also involved in multiple other activities on campus causing her to agree with her classmates on the quickness that the school year passed by.“I think being at Daleville High School and it being such a small school and community, it was so easy to get along with everybody. Of course, being in charge of the bigger organizations in school was hard; it was not easy (to balance it all) but was definitely worth it,” Godfrey said. “It all seemed to go by so quickly from marching season to parades with the Daleville city queens and even to (JROTC) competitions with my battalion. It was all worth it in the end.” She also gives credit to “great parents” and “great teachers” being by her side and helping her get everything she needed to do completed.The graduate’s greatest memory of many is the first home pep rally of the school year. “Coming in as drum major was so much fun and hearing the students get pumped up with the band and the football players coming out was just a really fun time,” she said.As for getting her diploma, Godfrey said, “It didn’t feel real. It felt like a dream,” said Godfrey. “As I was walking across the stage and I heard them say my name and I received my diploma it felt like all of my hard work was recognized, accomplished. It was an awesome day.”Godfrey will head to Tuscaloosa in August to attend the University of Alabama on a scholarship. She will join the ROTC there, major in pre-law, and expects to graduate and enter the Army as a commissioned officer. “I am pumped. I am so excited for college,” she said.
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