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DCHS Class of 2015 graduates
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The DCHS class of 2015 received their diplomas Friday night and three outstanding seniors were recognized for their accomplishments with the White Rose and Citizenship awards.


Winning the White Rose Awards were Bailey Hayes and MaKalee Ruch, and Lydia Trail took home the Citizenship Award. The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from each graduating class for outstanding achievement in leadership, academics, and other areas. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DCHS during their high-school career.


Each of the 181 seniors were named by Assistant Principal Kathy Bryant, and the graduates took their sheepskins from Interim Director of Schools Dr. Danielle Collins and DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps.


Valedictorian Julia Little advised her classmates to take control of their own happiness. "Life only gets harder from here," she told the graduating class. "You will have really great days and you will have really bad days, but you are responsible for your own happiness. If you are unhappy in any situation, be it the college you're at, the job you're in, the town you live in, or even a relationship, change it. I promise you will be much happier. Nothing lasts forever."


Class President Kelsey Hedge urged her fellow graduates to stand up for their beliefs. "The future is up to you.," Hedge said. "Every decision that you make from this day forward will have a significant effect on your future. When you make a choice, think about the long term effects it will have on your future. Remember who you are, where you are from, and what you represent. Be willing to stand for what you believe in, and always be true to yourself. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ Follow your passion and make your own path. Dare to be all that you can be. Be fearless, but be thoughtful and mindful in your fearlessness. Take a chance on doing what you love, and always strive to be the best at whatever you do. Stay true to your heart. Have the courage to explore the realm of possibility, and always be willing to take chances. Believe anything is possible and work hard to make it happen. Most importantly, don't be scared of the unknown. Follow your passion, be driven to succeed, and always be open to learning as you go. Never forget that your life is made up of moments. Enjoy each day as it comes, and don't miss these moments by being lost in the past or anticipating the future. From this day forward, go find your happiness, and never forget, your life is completely up to you," said Hedge.


Principal Patrick Cripps advised the class of 2015 to explore, dream, and discover. "In the famous words of Dr. Seuss, today is your day," Cripps told the seniors. "You are off to great places. You're off and away. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own and you know what to do. You are the guy who will decide where to go. You have been given a foundation by your parents, guardians, teachers, and friends to build upon. The choices you are making now will impact you and those closest to you for the rest of your lives. I ask that you not take these decisions lightly. At the same time, don't spend so much time trying to choose the perfect opportunity that you miss the right opportunity. In choosing your path never fear to challenge yourself. Do not be afraid to fail because the only real failure in life is a failure to try. The one who falls and gets up is so much stronger than the one who never fell. And when you fall, be humble. Cling to your true self and stand up stronger. If you don't go after what you want you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place. Mark Twain said twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover. Tonight my challenge to you is that you indeed explore, dream, and discover. Travel the road you were meant to claim but at the end of the day always remember where home is. I challenge you to keep these days and memories near to you so that you may someday have a desire to return and give back to your community. Remember collectively who you are. We are DeKalb County."


The Invocation for the commencement was offered by Bailey Hayes of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The DCHS Fighting Tiger Band and Chorus provided the music for the program, and Guidance Counselor Lori Barnes recognized the honor and distinction students. Guidance Counselor Shelly Painter recognized the Top Rank students in the class. The Benediction was delivered by Lane Ball, member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The graduates wore blue ribbons in support of child abuse awareness, and in honor of two-year-old Colten May, an alleged victim of abuse who died the previous Sunday.