Gautier High School Principal Al Sparkman knew having his daughter Erin attend the same school he led had put Erin through an awkward and sometimes difficult high school experience. He tried to make it up to her during the school’s graduation ceremony Friday at the Coast Coliseum.
It was Erin’s birthday, and he could have taken the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” before the entire audience. But instead, he humorously put on a small dunce cap and expressed his love and appreciation for the senior being a good student and daughter during his tenure.
Valedictorian Gabrielle Humber encouraged her class to live a life of daring. Noting her class had observed several tragic events such as the Boston Marathon bombing and mass shootings at Sandy Hook and San Bernardino, among others, she said to still go after success as opposed to waiting for it to happen. She quoted Benjamin Franklin: “Be not afraid of growing too slowly. Be afraid only of standing still.”
“Instead of saying black or white, Democratic or Republican, man or woman, seek humanity,” Humber said. “Life is short; why waste it in opposition? Live a life of appreciation … live a life of authenticity, a life of genuineness … after all, life is short, but it’s yours for the taking.”
Humber will attend University of Alabama and major in biochemistry. Salutatorian Elizabeth Holliday will enroll at Mississippi State University with plans to become a biomedical engineer. Riley Brown, Samantha LaGanga and Madison Creel finished as Gautier’s top five graduates.
The 2017 class earned $7.8 million in scholarships.
Gautier High School
Valedictorian: Gabrielle Humber, daughter of Leeja and Brad Humber
Salutatorian: Elizabeth Holliday, daughter of Bridget and William Holliday
Principal: Al Sparkman
Class size: 195
Class Colors: Blue and Gold
Class Flower: White Rose
Class Song: “Centuries,” by Fall Out Boys
Class Motto: “Be so good, they can’t ignore you.” — Steve Martin