Parents filed into stadium seats to watch their graduates mark the right of passage in the same place so many of them marched in the band, played on the field and cheered along the sidelines. They, with friends and family, clustered in groups with programs in hand, cameras flashing and balloons hovering above as the graduates in caps and gowns took their seats in the folding chairs.
Thursday was graduation day for Calhoun County Schools, as well as Anniston High School, Faith Christian High School and Oxford High School.
“It’s our past that has prepared for what’s ahead,” Rebecca Romine, Weaver High School’s valedictorian told her classmates and the attendants in the stands.
A few miles away, Scott and Teresa Bradshaw sat in the Saks football stadium to watch their youngest son, Kyle, graduate. With their oldest son, Austin, a 2004 Saks graduate and recent Auburn graduate in attendance, they spoke of the mixed emotions that are a part of graduation day.
“It’s a little bit of a sad time, because what was your child is now a young man,” Scott Bradshaw said. “The word ‘proud’ could just be in bold print. I’m sure everybody here feels the same way.”
Kyle, a honors student who was active on the football field too, will attend Jacksonville State University on a full scholarship.
In Anniston, Terry Vincent sat atop the Lott-Mosby Memorial Stadium with a video camera secured to a tripod. He came to watch Mariesha Williams, the fourth of his six children, graduate from Anniston High School. He said he did not feel the twinge of sadness so many do on graduation day, but instead was overwhelmed with happiness.
“It’s all the same. I’m happy for each and every one of them,” Vincent said. “I hope he does something professional and I hope he is successful.”
Jacksonville High School and The Donoho School will hold their graduation ceremonies tonight.
Contact staff writer Laura Johnson at 256-235-3544.