PRIDE: Producing Responsible Individuals and Developing Excellence, while this may be the motto of Henderson’s PRIDE Academy, its truth was proven with the recent graduation of the program’s Class of 2020.
Jan. 6, 2020, will forever be a significant date to 13 hardworking local teens that got their chance to don their caps and gowns, stroll across the stage and receive one of the most important documents of their young lives. They took their place alongside the over 300 previous graduates from the academy.
Every seat in the Montgomery Achievement Center’s auditorium was filled, with family and friends of the graduates spilling out into the lobby.
MAC Principal, Clay Freeman, kicked off the ceremony by addressing the students’ achievement while cautioning them that future success will require determination, hard work, and perseverance.
“Remember, the world owes you nothing,” Freeman said, “If you want it, then you’re going to have to work for it.” He went on to remind the graduates of lessons learned within their coursework, specifically finance, and the significance those teachings will hold in their future.
After a prayer delivered by graduate Kylon Polk and pledges to both the American and Texas flags led by graduate Christian Townsend, student speaker Carli Self took to the podium.
Self spoke directly to her fellow classmates acknowledging the years of hard work it took to get them to this important day and thanking them for playing a part in her education experience and creating memories with her. She thanked the faculty and staff of Henderson ISD and Montgomery Achievement Center for their support and expressed her appreciation for the PRIDE program calling it “one of the most beneficial decisions” she had made for herself.
Terry Everitt, Principal of Henderson High School, gave the Senior Address for the evening. He took the opportunity to thank MAC faculty and the Board of Trustees without whose support the PRIDE program couldn’t exist. Everitt directly addressed the graduates regarding relationships and how they will affect their future.
He encouraged the class to never underestimate the impact of the relationships they have built. Stressing the need for them to evaluate the relationships they have and thank those people that have helped them along the way.
“Take some time, graduates, thank those people that poured into you and provided the help and support that you needed but more importantly I think that you need to seek out the opportunity to return the favor to someone else,” Everitt said. “Find time to cultivate, develop, relationships with people like someone did for you. Find self-satisfaction by providing support to others that have a need. Be the person to others that you needed the most in your time of need.”
Dr. Thurston Lamb, HISD Superintendent, Dr. Caressa Roberts, HHS Assistant Principal, and Russell Wylie, HHS Assistant Principal conducted the diploma processional. The graduates were: Devin Amon Carrico, Hillary Cordova, Bryce Alexander Cunningham, Antonio Isaias Guevara, Chrisjen Brayden Jones, Laurentino Andres Mata, Ian Paul Mullins, Wesley Dylan Okerson, Kylon Marquell Polk, Andrik Ramiro Rocha, Carli Alyssa Self, Antanajah LaShell Starling, Christian Tyler Townsend and in absentia were Lauren Rae Bird, and Anna Grace Bylsma.
The commemoration ended with an auditorium-wide performance of the school song and the ceremonial tossing of the caps.
Of the evening’s events, Principal Freeman said, “I couldn’t be more proud of a group of kids. The ceremony went great and I’m happy for these kids and their families.”