“Freedom and flight can only come after the struggle,” Bayshore High School Principal David Underhill told members of the Bayshore class of 2017, their family and friends gathered at the Bradenton Area Convention Center Wednesday night for graduation.
Underhill’s parable of a moth reminded the 255 graduating seniors of the value of adversity and that graduating from high school, like a moth leaving a cocoon, does not represent an ending, but a beginning.
While his words may have stirred the graduating seniors, his request to the crowd to not interrupt the reading of the names with loud cheers was gleefully ignored once the seniors began crossing the stage.
Sierra Anders, one of the senior speakers and the school’s yearbook editor encouraged her classmates to share their stories with the world, and to never feel inferior.
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“It is our stories that define us. ... Out east, uptown or across the river, they might think, ‘That’s just a kid from Bayshore,’” Anders said. “But they don’t know our stories.”
Bayshore High School
Graduating class: 41st
Speakers: Principal David Underhill, student speakers Miriam Schmoll and Sierra Anders
Shining moment: The senior class members raised their roses and waved them in the air as Bayshore teacher Karise Holbrook, sang Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” Some parents and friends in the crowd turned on cellphone flash lights and raised them in the air.
Interesting fact: It was Underhill’s last graduation ceremony as Bayshore principal after 17 years at the school. He will be principal at Manatee High School next year.
Best quote: “There is one thing in this world that will always trump logic, and that is passion,” Schmoll told her classmates.