Dickinson ISD had 560 reasons to be “Gator Proud” this past week as the Dickinson High School Class of 2014 donned their Gator blue gowns and filed into Sam Vitanza Stadium to receive their diplomas.
Led by Valedictorian Stephen Romero and Salutatorian Anastasia Novak, the DHS Class of 2014 is the school’s largest graduating class.
With nearly $2.8 million in scholarships, some of these graduates will continue their education at colleges throughout Texas, while others are traveling across the country to universities in New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania and Georgia, to name a few.
Other students will go directly into the workforce, taking advantage of career and technology training and certifications they have earned while still in high school.
The weeks leading up to graduation are filled with many old and new traditions alike to commemorate the ending of an important chapter in each student’s life.
In addition to the longstanding traditions such as prom and Senior Breakfast, the school added a new tradition in 2013 — the Walk of Honor.
At the end of Senior Breakfast, Principal Billye Smith and the DHS Band Drum Line led the graduates on one last walk through the school to say farewell to friends and teachers who line the hallways.
Seniors are given star-shaped papers to write notes of thanks to special “star” teachers who have made a difference in their lives.
“The Walk of Honor serves a twofold purpose,” Smith said. “It is a chance for our graduates to walk the halls one last time, to reminisce and thank teachers who have helped get them to this point, while at the same time letting our staff and students congratulate them for their hard work.
“But just as importantly, it is an opportunity to give our underclassman a vision for their future that in the next few years this will be them if they stay focused on school.”
Witnessing the Walk of Honor this year brought back a flood of memories as I realized that 25 short years ago to the day I was one of these students walking across the stage on June 4, 1989, to receive my own diploma at La Porte High School.
I can still remember like it was yesterday all the emotions — the excitement about moving on to college but also the sadness of leaving behind something I had enjoyed so very much. I was one of those students who truly enjoyed school and being involved as much as possible.
While snapping pictures of the Walk of Honor, I couldn’t help but also look to the future and envision a glance of my own daughter through the camera lens.
She will start her own journey as a high school student this next school year. In four very short years, she will be walking across a stage to receive her diploma.
To the thousands of Class of 2014 graduates in Galveston County, including our 560 DHS Gator grads, savor every moment, live your dreams and aim high in whatever path you choose. Congratulations and best wishes on a bright future.