Following their graduation from Dodd, eighth-graders have set their sights on the year 2020, when they will next have their names announced at a commencement ceremony.
Dodd’s graduation, hosted at the high school, featured families, administrators, members of the board of education and staff members celebrating the past two years of hard work and commitment to success displayed by the students. Following a welcome by Principal Johane Ligondé and Assistant Principal Danielle Ballard, select chorus Director Sherill Spruill led her group through a remarkable rendition of the national anthem.
“I am so proud of you! You made it,” said Ballard. “It is another challenge to put a check next to, but you are far from done. You must remember you are not owed anything in life. You must work very hard to achieve any and every goal, dream and aspiration. Expect nothing and appreciate everything. You do not have to be famous; just continue to make your parents, families and loved ones proud, but most of all, do what will make you proud of yourself.”
Mistress of Ceremonies Sheilly Duque emceed the program, offering words of encouragement to her fellow graduates by quoting A.A. Milne: “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” she said.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kishore Kuncham and Board of Education President Michael Pomerico also delivered motivational speeches to the graduates, applauding them for their accomplishments thus far, and also urging them to continue striving to succeed and staying involved in their high school years.
“Think about your graduation as seniors in 2020,” said Pomerico. “What kind of person do you want to be when your four years are over? What kind of experiences do you want to have had? How do you want to be remembered? Successful, creative, kind, thoughtful, fair? As Walt Disney said, ‘all of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.’”
Following the select chorale’s performance of “Hall of Fame” by The Script, farewell addresses by graduates Joseph Bisono and Zakiya Curry, and a principal’s address by Ligondé, homeroom teachers announced the names of their groups of graduating students. Each student rose to the occasion, standing up from their seats as applause rained down from their loved ones in the bleachers.
Dodd’s graduation ceremony served as a dazzling celebration of Dodd’s graduates as they prepare to shine just as bright as Freeport High School’s Class of 2020.