Rome High School Graduation 2019
May 26, 2019--12:21 a.m.
With the sun still on the rise, the Rome High School Class of 2019 celebrated their commencement at Barron Stadium in downtown Rome. In all, 459 students clad in cap and gown formed the processional that started the ceremony. They were joined on the field by many of teachers who mentored them over the last four years, while the stage housed school board members, administrators, class officers and honored guests.
Upon the conclusion of the presentation of colors by members of the RHS ROTC, Senior Class Secretary Laura McCurry made her way to the podium to and delivered words of encouragement to, and in appreciation of, her fellow graduates.
“It is an amazing feeling to make it to this day and sharing it with my classmates makes it all the more special,” said McCurry. “I was honored with the opportunity to speak today because it was each and every one of them that provided the inspiration to keep working towards this goal. The sense of community we established all these years together allowed us to pick each other up when we were struggling and if we take that with us to the next phase in life there is nothing we can’t accomplish.”
Her confidence in her contemporaries is backed up by their achievements both in and out of the classroom. Collectively this class received an estimated 10 million dollars in scholarships to over 50 colleges and military institutions, embraced dual enrollment and rigorous AP curriculum, completed pathways that have them ready to enter the workforce immediately, and won multiple championships and awards in athletics and the arts.
This balance both in and out of the classroom is rooted in the work ethic of the Class of 2019 for certain, but producing well-rounded student is at the core of the Rome City Schools mission.
“It is our responsibility to prepare our students for the next phase in life, whether that is going to college or entering the workforce,” said Superintendent Louis Byars. “Our mantra is that all students will graduate from
Rome High prepared for college and work, and that preparation goes far beyond academics. These students have learned how to be good citizens in the community through soft skill training and student advocacy programs that teach them the proper way to interact and work well with others. We are proud of what the class of 2019 has accomplished, and like the classes before them, they have certainly raised the bar.”
This vision’s execution involves many players, none more important than the other, and RHS principal Dr. Eric Holland embraces the community mentality required to achieve it.
“We have worked hard to create a real family that extends beyond our students, faculty and staff to the families and loved ones of those people as well,” says Holland. “It took us all to help these 459 students get to this point in their lives.”
“Our Board and Superintendent Byars set the vision and from our first conversations it has always been about preparing the students on every level to be a contributing member of society as adults. Today these kids are the leaders of our school, tomorrow they will be leading our world and that is a credit to the culture that the Rome City School system has created.”
As the ceremony continued, attendees listened intently to excellent speeches from Salutatorian and Senior Class Vice President Caroline Young and Valedictorian Nigara Nizamindin that touched on the unique challenges and opportunities that the future holds.
Their eloquent deliveries drew laughter and tears from many in the crowd, while providing an uplifting theme fitting for the occasion.
After those powerful words, each graduate made their way across the stage to receive their diploma and upon their return to the field, Senior Class President Kris North made it official by accepting the diplomas on behalf of the 459 member strong Class of 2019.
It was a moment they will never forget and for North one he will never take for granted.
“This is a huge day for me, but it is bittersweet to know that most of us are headed to different places when it’s over,” said North. “My teachers, coaches and classmates mean so much to me and I can’t wait to see where life takes us all from here. The sky is the limit.”
That excitement echoed throughout Barron Stadium as everyone joined in singing the school Alma Mater. As the recessional parade began, so did the sea of smiles, tears, hugs and handshakes exchanged by the friends and family that add up to make a rather large pack of Rome Wolves.
It was a scene to behold and a day to remember.
“I am truly excited by the potential of this class,” said RCS Board Chair Faith Collins. “From duel enrollment opportunities to our pathways that allowed many of these kids to graduate ready to work, it is an exciting day for these young people and their futures are very bright indeed.”
More photos below