Berkeley Springs grads share lessons, memories during class speeches

by Colin McLaughlin

Co-Salutatorians Katey Banks and Stephanie Golden as well as Valedictorian Violet Hott spoke at the Berkeley Springs High School’s class of 2018 graduation last Thursday May 24. Banks started with a thought that she had that morning.

“On Nov. 5, 2004 [the Incredibles] movie was released and almost everyone has seen it,” said Banks. “Back in 2004 we were all just starting pre-school, that’s crazy. And now in less than a month, 14 years later, the second Incredibles movie is being released for a brand-new group of preschoolers to go see. A new group of kids is ready to embark on the journey we just completed.”

Kathryn Banks, co-Salutatorian.

Her main topic was four things that she learned in high school that will still be important for all of them for the rest of their lives. First, “don’t be afraid to be yourself,” second “challenge yourself and be genuinely interested in your work”, third “slow down and look around” and lastly “surround yourself with the people you love.” To finish off her speech, Banks thanked her parents and sister, her teachers and her friends for their guidance, support and inspiration to her four years of high school. Banks also challenged all of the graduates to go out and thank everyone that had helped them get to graduation.

Golden’s speech was very different, but still had a very strong message for the graduates.

Stephanie Golden, co-Salutatorian.

“Things don’t always turn out the way you expect it to,” said Golden. “You could say that I learned that the hard way sophomore year in Mr. Burdocks 7th period honors biology class. He kicked Wesley [Colyer] and I out for the entire period and scared us half to death. Burdock, I know you are out there and I know that you know I hated you for a solid two months. Isn’t it ironic how four years and four classes later I consider you to be my favorite teacher of all time.”

She then went on to talk about challenges in high school. Golden as a junior in high school weighed 104 pounds and was diagnosed with generalized anxiety causing her to have a panic attack during her races. She said that she has overcome her struggles and is

Violet Hott, Valedictorian.

now proud of her high school career instead of feeling like a failure, which she said she felt like at first.

Hott’s speech was very unique and not like most graduation speeches. She shared some of her classmate’s memories from their four years instead of her own.

“I got some amazing members of our class to share some of their favorite stories and memories as well,” said Hott. “Caleb Stotler shares, ‘I gotta say my favorite memory is playing music in the band,”

Hott then went on to talk about being scared to leave her friends and family because it is change, which is something everyone is not used to according to her. She ended her speech with a quote from former First Lady Michelle Obama, “There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.”