West Stokes graduates 224


By Nicholas Elmes - nelmes@civitasmedia.com



Salutatorian Joshua Lucas Gordon speaks at graduation.


Principal Kevin Spainhour tells the Class of 2016 how proud he is.


Valedictorian Collin James Philip Marot shares his wisdom with his fellow graduates.


A graduate is given a white rose after crossing the stage.


Graduates cross the stage during West Stokes High School’s graduation ceremony.


Principal Kevin Spainhour hugs a graduate crossing the stage.


A graduate pumps up the crowd after getting his diploma.


One graduate throws her hand up in celebration after receiving her diploma.


Each graduate received a white rose as part of the graduation ceremony.


Graduates offer congratulations to each other after receiving their diplomas.


A graduate cheers a fellow student as the cross the stage.


A graduate shows his excitement.


Brett Cox plays “The River.”


The graduates do a “wave” after receiving their diplomas.


West Stokes seniors move their tassels after graduation.


The West Stokes band plays the school’s alma mater.


Timothy Crowell, Mary Moore, Jenna Patton and Emily Wild perform “Way Back When.”


Interpreters provide sign language for the hearing impaired.


Over 200 West Stokes students crossed the stage on Saturday, taking their first steps into the world as high school graduates.

Principal Kevin Spainhour, who started his time at the school when the Class of 2016 were entering freshmen, said he was very proud of the graduating class.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose,” said Spainhour, noting that the class had raised $2,986,601 in scholarships with six seniors being accepted to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. “But understand that having brains in this world doesn’t always mean you are ranked in the top 10 percent academically.

“Consider the young man that finished high school in January, has already completed fireman school, is in classes for EMT certification and will begin work this summer,” said Spainhour. “Or the other early graduate who since leaving West has already earned 18 college credits from UNCG. It takes brains to have established a life plan and set your path to achieve those goals whether they include a four-year college or not. It may be through a focused community college program or enlisting into a branch of our armed forces – know that your brain will allow you to find success but doesn’t mean each of you will follow the exact same path.”

He encouraged the graduating class to take risks as they entered the world.

“You must be willing to take steps to create positive momentum,” said Spainhour. “You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. When I was sitting in your seat, I had absolutely no plans of ever being a high school principal much less in the same community that I grew up. Yet, here I am. Graduates, from this day forward understand that you control your decisions. And your decisions will control your direction. Steer yourself into an awesome future.”

Salutatorian Joshua Lucas Gordon told his fellow graduates that they were just starting to make a difference on the world.

“I think our graduate brains have only scratched the surface,” he said.

Valedictorian Collin James Philip Marot encouraged the graduating class to take time to find out who they truly are.

“Defining your beliefs uses a process of searching, examining and concluding,” he said. “You have to listen to what other people say with an open mind. You need to let the facts speak for themselves and be willing to believe what they say. You need to have beliefs of your own and take ownership of them.”

He encouraged his fellow graduates to take advice from parents and friends, but to use that advice as guidance in determining their own outlook on the world.

“It is crucial that before we embark on the exciting journey ahead of us that we have the tools we need to define what we believe and therefore be the ones impacting the world,” said Marot.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

Salutatorian Joshua Lucas Gordon speaks at graduation.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-1.jpgSalutatorian Joshua Lucas Gordon speaks at graduation.

Principal Kevin Spainhour tells the Class of 2016 how proud he is.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-2.jpgPrincipal Kevin Spainhour tells the Class of 2016 how proud he is.

Valedictorian Collin James Philip Marot shares his wisdom with his fellow graduates.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-3.jpgValedictorian Collin James Philip Marot shares his wisdom with his fellow graduates.

A graduate is given a white rose after crossing the stage.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-7.jpgA graduate is given a white rose after crossing the stage.

Graduates cross the stage during West Stokes High School’s graduation ceremony.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-8.jpgGraduates cross the stage during West Stokes High School’s graduation ceremony.

Principal Kevin Spainhour hugs a graduate crossing the stage.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-10.jpgPrincipal Kevin Spainhour hugs a graduate crossing the stage.

A graduate pumps up the crowd after getting his diploma.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-11.jpgA graduate pumps up the crowd after getting his diploma.

One graduate throws her hand up in celebration after receiving her diploma.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-13.jpgOne graduate throws her hand up in celebration after receiving her diploma.

Each graduate received a white rose as part of the graduation ceremony.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-14.jpgEach graduate received a white rose as part of the graduation ceremony.

Graduates offer congratulations to each other after receiving their diplomas.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-15.jpgGraduates offer congratulations to each other after receiving their diplomas.

A graduate cheers a fellow student as the cross the stage.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-16.jpgA graduate cheers a fellow student as the cross the stage.

A graduate shows his excitement.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-17.jpgA graduate shows his excitement.

Brett Cox plays “The River.”
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-18.jpgBrett Cox plays “The River.”

The graduates do a “wave” after receiving their diplomas.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-19.jpgThe graduates do a “wave” after receiving their diplomas.

West Stokes seniors move their tassels after graduation.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-20.jpgWest Stokes seniors move their tassels after graduation.

The West Stokes band plays the school’s alma mater.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-4.jpgThe West Stokes band plays the school’s alma mater.

Timothy Crowell, Mary Moore, Jenna Patton and Emily Wild perform “Way Back When.”
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-5.jpgTimothy Crowell, Mary Moore, Jenna Patton and Emily Wild perform “Way Back When.”

Interpreters provide sign language for the hearing impaired.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_WSHS-6.jpgInterpreters provide sign language for the hearing impaired.

By Nicholas Elmes

nelmes@civitasmedia.com

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