Blue Ridge ‘best’ collects diplomas

Seventy-three Blue Ridge graduates collected diplomas at commencement exercises held Saturday in the auditorium.

Seventy-three Blue Ridge graduates collected diplomas at commencement exercises held Saturday in the auditorium.

BY STACI WILSON

In the high school halls, it has been said the Class of 2014 was the best to ever hit Blue Ridge.

“Some doubted it,” Class President Morgan Gillespie said. “I always believed it.”

Although none of the graduates had cured a disease – as pointed out by Valedictorian Alex Dennis – he applauded his classmates’ hard work and dedication. The 73 members of the “best” class seated on the stage had “made it.” Dennis said, “This has all come to an end. This is it. This is graduation. This is the end of high school – the end of a chapter of your life.”

“Stay dedicated, stay focused and keep going,” he concluded.

Salutatorian Leif-Axel Berg viewed his high school experience as more of a movie, rather than chapters in a book, titled “The Good, The Great and The Awesome.” From the “good” – classes and clubs; the “great” – arts education; and the “awesome – school trips Berg paid tribute to his high school favorites.

Blue Ridge graduate Kara Empett receives her diplomas from her father, Harold Empett, a member of the school board.

Blue Ridge graduate Kara Empett receives her diplomas from her father, Harold Empett, a member of the school board.

Berg’s parting advice combined wisdom from science teacher Ed Price (who had often repeated the Roger Miller lyrics “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd) and author John Green. “Use common sense and don’t forget to be awesome,” he told the class.

The Class of 2014 chose business teacher Brian Lewis as the keynote speaker for commencement exercises. “Lives change,” he told the class. “Some of you are unsure what you are going to do. Like I’ve told you in Careers class, knowing what you don’t want to do is as important as knowing what you want?”

Blue Ridge’s top two grads, Salutatorian Leif-Axel Berg and Valedictorian Alex Dennis revel in the moments following graduation.

Blue Ridge’s top two grads, Salutatorian Leif-Axel Berg and Valedictorian Alex Dennis revel in the moments following graduation.

Principal Matthew Nebzydoski said, “The road to a diploma is not always a straight one,” as he acknowledge some graduates sitting on the stage had also spoken to him about dropping out of school and thanked those students for their perseverance.

He said he has seen this year’s graduates performing charitable work that has made a difference in the community; tutoring students who were lagging behind in subjects; representing Blue Ridge well on the playing fields and in the arts – the Class of 2014 at its best.