Perseverance. Hope. Opportunity.
For the three Harlan High School valedictorians who spoke during the 103rd graduation ceremony on Saturday at the Harlan Baptist Church, those were the themes that were stressed in addresses to graduates and guests.
“Don’t allow yourselves to live in the adversity, overcome it,” said Caleb Hogue, who discussed the knee injury he suffered last summer which he feared would end his athletic career before he was able to return in December.
“Hope is the reason we are gathered here today,” noted Lauren McCurry, who connected her comments to the Leann Womack song “I Hope You Dance.”
Elyssa Slusher talked of the “world of opportunities awaiting us” as she reflected back on her high school career and looked ahead to college.
C.D. Morton, the superintendent of the Harlan Independent Schools, told the 36 graduates that the community has “invested in you in important ways” and reminded them that they were fortunate to grow up in a place “where people truly care about you.”
“We ask that you never forget how blessed you are to be part of this community,” he said.
Harlan High School Principal Britt Lawson presented an award to Hogue for being selected as a Governor’s Scholar and another to Braxton Fannin for participating in the Kentucky School for the Arts.
Senior Harlan Musettes performed “Called Me Higher.” The senior Musettes and Boys Choir members sang “My Wish.”
Leanna Asher, the salutatorian for the class of 2016, also delivered an address, as did class president Kaitlin Jenkins.
Holly Hatfield gave the invocation and Nick Jarvis delivered the benediction.