Class of 2017

Moss Point seniors outdid themselves with drive for success

Salutatorian Niya Cooper and valedictorian Kennadi Johnson
Salutatorian Niya Cooper and valedictorian Kennadi Johnson Special to the Sun Herald

Moss Point’s senior class faced a daunting challenge in August 2016. With their last year in front of them, 66 incoming seniors — more than half of class — were not qualified for graduation.

The theme Friday night at graduation, though, was not failure, but success as 127 of the school’s 134 seniors received their diplomas.

“I felt like the quote defined us as a class,” said A’mon Haynes, who said he found the quote on the internet: “They said I could not, so I did.” “Many people thought the class as a whole would not make it this far.”

“The people said we couldn’t, but we were successful,” valedictorian Kennadi Johnson said. “I am very proud of this class. No matter how many people said we couldn’t, we worked hard and we did.”

Salutatorian Niya Cooper also spoke about many people doubting the class of 2017.

“We can really say that everything we earned was the result of hard work and dedication,” she said. “With hard work and a great state of mind, you can do anything.”

Principal Joe Griffin said all the credit in getting the class to graduation goes to the seniors.

“They had to do the work,” he said, noting the seniors work cut the number of those not meeting requirements from 66 to only seven. “We provided the services, but they really came through. They worked hard for this. Tonight is testament to their hard work.”

The senior class not only graduated, said Moss Point lead counselor Burt Jackson, but graduated successfully. He said the big number of the night was not only the seniors who graduated, but 49 seniors, more than a third of the class, who left high school with college credit from taking dual-credit courses. Another big number was $5.85 million in scholarship money, which is more than $46,000 per senior.

“Moss Point has always been known for athletics,” Jackson said, “but this class wanted Moss Point to be known for academics.”

“We came, we conquered,” Haynes told the graduation audience, “we achieved and now we are ready to superacheive.”

Moss Point High School

Class size: 127

Valedictorian: Kennadi Johnson, daughter of Mark and Tammie Hunt

Salutatorian: Niya Cooper, daughter of Juanita Tolbert-Cooper

Principal: Joe Griffin

Class quote: “They said I could not, so I did.”

Class song: “Moment for Life” — Nicki Minaj