Graduates head out into world

Published 11:15 pm Thursday, May 26, 2016

Valedictorian Kalissa Johnson gives her address during Dallas County High School’s graduation  on Thursday.

Valedictorian Kalissa Johnson gives her address during Dallas County High School’s graduation
on Thursday.

Shouts and cheers rang from the bleachers in Plantersville on Thursday night as friends and family watched nearly 150 students walk across the stage to collect their diplomas.

Dallas County High School held its 2016 graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. at the school’s football field.

“Finally, we can breathe,” said class valedictorian Kalissa Johnson during her speech.

Johnson was one of nine students who graduated with an associate’s degree from Wallace Community College Selma through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant.

William R. Martin Middle School principal Paul Thomas gave words of encouragement to the graduating class.

“I was afraid at first, but I’m excited,” said graduate Yasmeen Craig about her thoughts on graduation. “It means everything. It’s a new step, a new milestone in life.”

For many students, the night was once they will never forget as they enter the next phase of their adult life.

“I’ve never been apart of anything so big,” said graduate Dominique Jackson. “It’s really fulfilling.


The Keith Middle/High School graduating class of 2016 walked across the stage to receive their diplomas Thursday night in Orrville.

The class of 50 includes 15 students that have already started college, including some graduating with an associate’s degree, and multiple college basketball signees.

“To all my classmates, this is only the beginning,” said Keith salutatorian Brian Crum. “There is a whole world out there, so go experience it. Don’t settle for what everyone expects you to do.”

Harriet Winchester, who signed with Troy University for basketball, showed her talent goes beyond athletics by reading a poem she wrote for the ceremony.

“Always remember the friends you hold dear and look forward to the future without any fear,” Winchester read. “This is a day you’ve been preparing for ever since you first walked through that first classroom door.”

The class valedictorian Epiphany Simmons delivered a speech that looked ahead to the journey she and her classmates were about to take into the world.

“We all have a purpose in life and we are all destined for greatness,” Simmons said.


The 2016 graduating class of Southside High School consisted of 114 people. Kiara Horton was the class valedictorian and Jayla Woods was the salutatorian. They both gave speeches to their classmates with encouraging words and reminders that high school graduation is only the beginning of their success journeys. Horton has already obtained an associates degree’s from Wallace Community College Selma and said to graduate from high school short after has been one of her biggest accomplishments.

“I’m so happy and proud of myself. I owe it all to God, family, friends and teachers who helped me get this far. Southside was an eye-opening experience and I enjoyed it,” Horton said.

Woods has plans to attend Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University to major in biology and become a physical therapist. “I want my classmates to always strive to be the best and to do what they have to do to make things happen. I’ve had a wonderful experience here at Southside and have grown each and every year,” Woods said.

Southside Principal Clarence Jackson has been principal for the past six years and said this is the first year that every graduate met all requirements and didn’t have to come back to summer school in order to get their diploma. “I’m hoping they will focus on something positive and go on to do great things. I want them to do their best,” Jackson said.