In speeches, Harrison Central High School Valedictorian Gabrielle Heckler and Salutatorian Timothy Stoner implored their class to pursue excellence and never give up in the face of adversity.
The class had a good example.
Cam’Ron Jackson, who graduated on Saturday with 370 others at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum, had contracted a devastating viral disease during his sophomore year, which left him temporarily paralyzed and unable to walk, swallow or talk. Yet a determined Jackson recovered enough to be able to walk the stage and accept his diploma.
Stoner praised Jackson as the most inspiring figure at the school.
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“Cam’Ron had become an inspiration on the campus with his dedication and hard work,” said Stoner, who will study Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Mississippi. “Each of you will be faced with challenges, but each of you has the ability to achieve.”
Heckler, who enters Mississippi State this fall with plans to major in Chemical Engineering, also asked the class to keep moving forward in life.
“We all have an equal amount of education, life experience and opportunity,” she said. “Most importantly, don’t make high school the best four years of your life. Accomplish things that are so impressive and so admirable that high school is a fond memory, but not your fondest. I prefer to you, my classmates, to choose greatness.”
This year’s Harrison Central graduating class earned over $8 million in scholarships.
HARRISON CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL
Mascot: Red Rebels
Valedictorian: Gabrielle Heckler, daughter of Missy Heckler
Salutatorian: Timothy Stoner, son of Todd and Michele Stoner
Principal: Averie Bush
Class Size: 371
Class Colors: Ruby Onyx and Champange
Class Flower: Red Carnation
Class Song: “I’ll Be There for You” by the Rembrandts
Class Motto: “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where this is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson