Astronaut Col. Steve Austin may have been known as the “Six Million Dollar Man” in the popular 1970s TV show, but at Pass Christian High School, Dylan Morris is the school’s “million dollar man.”
Morris was one of 123 gradates who received diplomas Friday night during the school’s commencement exercises. Morris received his nickname after he was offered more than $1 million in scholarships to several colleges and universities including Millsaps, Bellhaven and Mobile’s Spring Hill College.
But Morris has decided to stay closer to home.
“I’m graduating with a 3.6 grade average and I’m going to attend the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg,” he said. “I want to major in business administration and possibly accounting and eventually I would like to start my own nonprofit foundation because I know I’m not the only person in the world that has epilepsy.”
Gail Morris, Dylan’s mother, said he had his first seizure when he was a year old.
“I was a young mother and I had not idea what was going on,” she said.
Morris said her son was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis complex, a genetic disease that causes non-cancerous tumors.
“The only thing it affected on Dylan was his brain,” she said. “It caused seizures and it delayed his development — he barely knew his ABCs when he started school and he was in a self-contained class — he wasn’t even supposed to live to be a teenager, much less get more than a million dollars in scholarship offers.”
Dylan Morris joined his classmates as they walked into the Pass High gymnasium Friday night to the strains of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.”
During her farewell address to her classmates and friends, valedictorian Gnyata Patel peppered her speech with witty pop-culture references.
“While our parents were worrying about Y2K and the world ending, ours was just beginning,” she said. “We are the last graduating class where everyone was born in the 20th century.”
Pass Christian High School
Valedictorian: Gnyata Patel, daughter of Bhavik and Smita Patel
Salutatorian: Jennifer Hoang, daughter of Lien Pham and the late Tuan Hoang
Class size: 123
Principal: Robyn Killebrew
Valedictorian’s quote: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” — Maya Angelou