Sabine High School graduates have much to be proud of as they take their diplomas and pursue their dreams but they know they also have much for which to be thankful.
Thankfulness and gratitude were part of the messages shared by SHS class of 2019 salutatorian MaKenzie Williams and valedictorian Scottie Keith Taylor at commencement exercises held Saturday, May 25, in the Belcher Center auditorium on the campus of Letourneau University in Longview.
“Looking back, high school went by so quickly,” Williams said after thanking her parents, teachers and friends for helping her achieve her goals. She encouraged those about to become high school freshmen to appreciate their time at SHS because it would pass before they knew it.
“Some of you may believe this is an ending but, in fact, it’s just a beginning,” Williams told her fellow graduates.
“We can all go off now and pursue our passions, such as the military, the workforce or even college. Graduation is a special time for all of us and this memory will live in our hearts forever.”
Taylor, who earned the valedictorian title by earning a grade point average of 5.655 on a five-point scale, also encouraged his fellow student to look towards the future with optimism and to the past with gratitude.
“We have two ways to look: backwards and forwards. Sabine schools have given us a proud past but our teachers, administrators, families, churches and our friends have provided each of us with such a promising future. As we look back, we have so much to be thankful for.”
Taylor plans to attend Texas A&M University to major in chemical engineering but expressed pride in his small-town roots.
“Every place has its ups and downs but I am so proud to be from this little community of Liberty City and to be a graduate of Sabine High.”
Liberty City may be a small town but the achievements of its graduates are considerable.
Many of the class of 2019’s 89 graduates wore additional graduation regalia to signify their membership in the National Honor Society, the Red Cord Honors Program and the Distinguished Achievement Program.
Several graduating seniors were members of SHS’s various University Interscholastic League teams, which have won multiple state championships in the past school year, including repeat state championships for Sabine’s 3A district math teams, of which Taylor and Williams were both a part.
Taylor extended thanks to his parents, both teachers at Sabine ISD and older brother T Taylor for helping him achieve his class rank and his goals.
Taylor also cited his faith as a primary motivator in his life and encouraged his fellow graduates to cherish their faith.
“The number one thing that I wish everyone would take with them is the fact that real peace and happiness can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. All other pursuits, in due time will leave us empty and staring off into the horizon for the next challenge. I wish that having a relationship with Him meant that we won’t have any problems or heartache but it doesn’t. But it does mean that we’ll be guaranteed a Heavenly Father that will see us through tough times here on earth and that we’ll have the comfort of spending eternity with Him when our time here on earth is done.”
Taylor closed by exhorting his classmates to show kindness to others, to accept themselves as they are, to enjoy time spent with others and to remain hopeful about the future.