Savannah Goolsby, Biloxi High School’s 2017 valedictorian, could not help herself and just had to do an “Ellen” at the graduation ceremony on May 21.
Excusing herself to the audience during her address, she slipped toward the middle of the stage and took a selfie with the other 362 graduating seniors sitting behind her — just like Ellen Degeneres did at the 2014 Academy Awards. She called on her fellow seniors to boldly step out to achieve in the next phases of their lives.
“Because we have such high aspirations, we ask that you push yourself each and every day,” said Goolsby, who will enroll at Georgetown University this fall to pursue studies in the medical field. “We have to go step out of our comfort zone… every failure leads to success. I would like to challenge my fellow graduates to continue raising that bar for Biloxi High; raising that bar that challenges what’s average.
“It is not enough to simply be a peacekeeper — we must be a peacemaker, stand up for what we believe in and fight for what is right.”
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Salutatorian Santana Amaker drew upon a social science lesson taught by one of her teachers to deliver her message.
“At this moment, you may be thinking that, instead of you moving toward the door of adulthood, the door has been steadily moving toward you, while you remain in the same place. You may not know exactly if you’re moving towards the door or if the door is moving towards you.
“One thing I’m certain of: once you and that door meet one another, you should confidently open that door, into your future.”
Amaker’s door has opened for her in the direction of the University of Mississippi, where she will enroll in International Studies at the prestigious Croft Institute.
Biloxi’s 2017 class produced 100 High Honor students, 56 Honor students and amassed over $10.8 million in scholarships. Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich, city councilwoman Dixie Newman and Harrison County Board Supervisor Beverly Martin were among the special guests present.
BILOXI HIGH SCHOOL
Valedictorian: Savannah Goolsby, daughter of Ashley and Alan Belcher
Salutatorian: Santana Amaker, daughter of Robert Amaker and Rita Johnson Amaker
Principal: Marcus Boudreaux
Class Size: 363
Class Color: Gold
Class Flower: Indian Painted Blanket
Class Song: “Best Day of My Life,” by American Authors
Class Motto: “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re not us.”