Class of 2014 exits South Caldwell High School

Jun. 13, 2014 @ 03:21 PM

A rainbow, symbolic of a crossing over from one place to another, appeared directly over South Caldwell High School just minutes before the Class of 2014 Graduation Ceremony, held outdoors Thursday at the school’s football stadium.

A brief shower put the occasion on hold for about 15 minutes, but the sun finally peeked out of the clouds around 7:15, and the ceremony began. As the school’s band played “Pomp and Circumstance,” the 367 soon-to-be graduates paraded onto the field and took their seats. Later, senior class co-presidents Courtney Epps and Dylan Mathewson gave their farewell addresses to their classmates, and then awards were presented to students who displayed traits of academic excellence, character, and service.

Principal J. Michael Peake spoke of this class’s accomplishments: Nearly 90 percent going on to higher education, a 94 percent graduation rate and $3.8 million in scholarships awarded, the highest ever in South Caldwell history.

One by one, the seniors approached the stage for their diplomas. One special graduate, Alexus Shiann Phillips, also was recognized, although she was not there to receive her diploma. Alexus died Dec. 28, 2013, from injuries sustained in a car crash near Lebanon, Tenn. As her name was read, her classmates stood and cheered.

Peake sent the graduates off into the future with this message: “Before you leave this field, go find a classmate, a parent, a grandparent, or someone special who has helped you, and tell them thank you. Without them, you wouldn’t be here.”