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Fort Dale Academy honors class of 2021 graduates at commencement ceremony

Fort Dale Academy held its senior graduation Friday, May 28.

After lining up beside the bleachers, the 24 graduating seniors descended the stairs to the football field to find their seats.

As students made their way down, cheers could be heard from excited parents and friends.

Salutatorian Mackenzie Blackmon began the ceremony with a speech that reminded her fellow students that this was a day for celebration, not sadness.

“When thinking about our past years here at Fort Dale, one quote sums it up,” Blackmon said. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”- Dr. Seuss.

“I know it’s hard to let go of everything we had here, but the memories we made here at Fort Dale will always be with us. Some of us are ready to face the world on our own and become the incredible person he or she is meant to be. Some of us are hesitant and not ready to leave this all behind. But whether we are ready or not, it is our time to make an impact on the world and maybe even change a life,” Blackmon said.

After Blackmon’s speech, seniors who obtained scholarships were recognized.

During this presentation, rain delayed the graduation by two hours.

Once the weather cleared, the ceremony resumed in the nearby gym.

As the presentation came to an end, Valedictorian Parker McNaughton began his speech which he said was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

“I chose to use painting as what seemed an obvious comparison between the colorful style of Van Gough and the equally, if not more, color characteristics of my classmates, “ McNaughton said.

“Every smear, dot, or glob of paint adds to the overall emotion felt with a piece of art. They do not fade into obscurity. Instead, they stand and shine individually while adding to the piece overall, and I find this to be the case with every student in my class as well.”

McNaughton then attributed specific colors to each of his classmates while explaining how it fit their personality.

After his speech, McNaughton presented an original painting entitled “Oh The Places You’ll Go” to the school to commemorate the class of 2021.

Following the speech, students accepted their diplomas.

When the last name was called, students made their way to the middle of the gym to ceremoniously toss their caps in the air.

Congratulations to the Fort Dale Academy’s Class of 2021!