By Allen Hamrick
The Clay County High School Graduation of 2023 has now been committed to memory. In a gym packed with parents, friends and supporters, attendees watched as nearly a hundred students got set to receive some hard earned diplomas. There were many other awards given in memory of those who have passed as well as awards that were funded by the people of this county through programs and events to help the youth in their quest for higher learning. The graduating seniors were given great pep talks by their own peers who attained the highest levels of academics during their years at CCHS. The basic idea they all spoke of was to get out there and be somebody and not to fear what lies in their future.
Mr. Phil Dobbins, long time leader, coach and teacher of Clay County Schools, gave the 107th commencement address with words of encouragement and determination to never give up what you love to do. He also reminded the graduates that this was the start, a new beginning for them that would be uncertain at first, but with hard work, focus and determination, they could achieve the unbelievable and make great strides in discovery and exploration. He encouraged them to never hold back the skills and natural abilities each one has in order for both our and their future to be a place of refuge that is sealed with an iron will. Just being from a small town doesn’t determine their fate but instills their drive to prove the status quo wrong. It was good to have a local
individual speak who has attained lifelong success as not only a teacher and coach but a caring human whose life has been devoted to making sure that our youth had the best opportunity to survive the future. Two thousand twenty-three has been a great year for CCHS; the students’ determination showed throughout the year in academics, sports and other endeavors. This senior class was awarded nearly a $100,000 in scholarship money, college awards and other donations.
Clay County High School will bid farewell to some intelligent and hard working young men and women who will no doubt be an influence in the fields they enter into. The graduates will now embark on a new journey and accept new roles in society as participants and leaders that will ultimately play a big part of this country’s future. With the unsettled politics in this country and the economy in a bind, the future will be bright for those who will take the bull by the horns and change this country while keeping the founding principles in mind. The future is an opportunity for our youth because they are smart and have zeal to change the world. It is in the concourse of life that we change and make a path of our own necessary to sustain the ongoing process called life. It has to be so that the columns that hold our country up stay strong and vigilant.
Many of the seniors will be going on to higher learning, others will go and serve in our country’s military to defend our rights and freedoms and others will assume their roles as hard working individuals. Now, graduates, is time to move on, and there are time tested and proven rules to form your minds – talk little, listen a lot, reflect on what has passed, never forget where you come from, distrust your own opinion and value and respect others who deserve it. Congratulations to all the students of Clay County High School, and Clay County wishes nothing but the best for you. Go forth Panthers and show ‘em what you’re made of!