Valedictorian Lily Tran had attendees of Lloyd C. Bird High School’s June 7 graduation laughing.
Tran told her fellow graduates to look underneath their seats, paused and then said, “Just kidding.”
She encouraged them to treat each person they come across with compassion and kindness.
“Good deeds are never too late,” co-salutatorian Chengjian Chen said. “The world doesn’t magically get better on its own.”
Co-salutatorian Elijah Kien thanked God for “everything He has done for me. Without Him I wouldn’t be here,” which resulted in rousing cheers from the audience.
Kien also thanked his mother, father, brother and various school employees, including librarians, custodians, counselors, teachers and cafeteria staff.
He noted that the school donated $2,764 to victims of Hurricane Irma in Florida.
Tyler Harris, the peer-elected student speaker from the Governor’s Academy for Engineering Studies, quoted financier Ziad Abdelnour: “Never let success get to your head, or failure to your heart.”
Interim superintendent Donald Fairheart thanked outgoing principal Laura Hebert for her leadership following her final year in the position, and senior class president Zaria Booth said Hebert encouraged, loved and supported every student at Bird.
Fairheart lauded graduate Cristian Arbiazo, who walked from El Salvador to the U.S. as a child with his brother and received permanent residency status after one year.
Fairheart announced the recipients of the superintendent’s medal and $1,000 scholarships. These were awarded to Harris, who has a 4.42 GPA and is an Eagle Scout, and Corbin Donaldson, who also received a leadership award from Christopher Newport University.
The Faculty scholarship went to Nadely Tavares, the Mildred P. Spencer scholarship to Cassie Barber, and Destiny Brown won the Faculty Service award.