And while celebrating the achievement was in order, satisfaction or even complacency was not.
“I don’t want you to think that this is the last time of pomp,” said Speaker Ralph Simpson, an assistant principal with the DeKalb County School System. “You need to expect to have another graduation.”
Simpson urged students to show three characteristics as they move on from high school — commitment, perseverance and faith. With those, success is likely to come.
“I hated school, but I realized that education was a means to my success. It’s a necessity,” Simpson said. “You have to become addicted to congratulations. In order to be told, ‘Congratulations,’ you have to do something.”
Janet Ware, the outgoing principal at A.Z. Kelsey Academy, was pleased with the speaker’s message.
“Thank you for inspiring us. Thank you for encouraging us, and not just the graduates,” said Ware, who — prior to Simpson’s speech — had sung a duet with graduate Ashley Pikes that earned the two a standing ovations from the audience.
The A.Z. Kelsey Class of 2012 is comprised of namely Aprele Arnold, David Javonte’ Artis, Malcom Askin, Lashavia Blackmon, Fernando Cesar Castillo, Javaris Antonio Henley, Chakar Kirkland, Richie Ray Parker, Ashley Nicole Pikes, Shoba Lakurian Price, Anthony Reynolds, Jordan Michael Ridgeway, Reginald Jarvel Taylor, Dashana Marie Turner and Raeshad Deondries Zellner.