The Fulton High School Class of 2023 graduated Friday evening, with 134 students walking across the football field to receive their diplomas.
The class speaker for the ceremony was Carter Meyerhoff. When introducing Meyerhoff, FHS principal Kati Boland said he was active in band, cross country, track, tennis and National Honor Society (NHS).
"After four long, grueling years of high school, watching past seniors come and go, it's finally our turn," Meyerhoff said in the beginning of his address.
Meyerhoff thanked everyone who helped the graduates get to this point -- families, teachers, classmates and everyone else who supported them.
He reflected upon the high school journey the graduates went through together.
"Looking back on our years in preschool, elementary, middle and high school, it's important that we remember the journey. The hardships, the triumphs, even just the small moments with our friends. Each and every one of these experiences has shaped us into the people that we are today," Meyerhoff.
He told the graduating class that in their next steps in life, remember where they came from and be proud of what they have accomplished.
"Become the person you always wanted to be. The only one standing in the way of your dreams is you. You are capable of anything you set your mind to. Always dream bigger than what others think is possible, and make the impossible possible. Dream big, and achieve even bigger," Meyerhoff.
The commencement address was delivered by Emily Omohundro. She is a 2003 FHS graduate. She also previously served on the Fulton Public Schools Board of Education from 2017-2023.
"Good evening Class of 2023, you all have been through it. But look, here you are on the other side," Omohundro said.
She said the Class of 2023 is "our pandemic teenagers," and they have a unique perspective on what it means to miss out on experiences and opportunities.
Omohundro shared with the graduates five thoughts.
The first thought was about glimmers.
She said cherished moments can happen in the small and quiet moments, and not just with big accomplishments.
"Glimmers are about finding a little bit of magic in the mundane," Omohundro said.
The second thought was about authenticity.
"The reputation you carry with you throughout life is one of your most valuable assets," she said.
She said it is important to be authentic and own your mistakes.
"Own your errors, claim them honestly, and be willing to correct the course," she said.
The third thought Omohundro shared with the graduates was about remaining silent.
She encouraged the graduates to be smart with what they post online.
"A bit of free legal advice -- if you would not want to read it aloud in a court room, don't post it," she said.
The fourth thought Omohundro shared was about curiosity.
"In a time when everyone takes a side about a hot button issue, be someone who is curious enough to dig deeper and vulnerable enough to challenge your own assumptions," she said.
The final thought shared with the Class of 2023 was about love.
"Love yourself enough to let go of things and people and pursuits that are unhealthy. That's called setting boundaries, protecting your peace" she said.
Omohundro told the students to take out their phones and take a photo of themselves.
This was to create a glimmer.
"Think about the hope you feel for your future right now," she said.
She told the graduates that when they are feeling down, to look at this photo and remember what they were hoping for.
Omohundro then had the graduates turn around and take a photo of their people in the crowd.
"These people are proud of you. They dropped you off on your first day of kindergarten. They probably taught you how to use a toilet and tie your shoes. They are showing up for you today, just as they showed up for you for the past 18 years. They are here because they love you," she said.
Cum Laude was awarded to Dennis McGregory III
Magna Cum Laude was awarded to: Calli Ballard, Bailey Easley, Taylor Hickerson, Lucinda Hill, Grace Ousley, Aidan Romero and Jonna Vanzetti.
Summa Cum Laude was awarded to: Jayna Davison, Pauline Fouts, Aidan Haglund, Charlotte Hansert, William Harper, Kadence Harvey, Olivia Huff, Viridian Lowe, Carter Meyerhoff, Makenna Milam, Daniel Moak, Ahmad Sherzad and Quiara Walton.