Salem High School bids farewell to graduating seniors

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Photos by Shawn Nowlin
Destiny Brown leads the way as graduates walk to their seat.
Graduates listening to SCA President Alexandra Abbott during the ceremony.

The Salem High School Class of 2018 celebrated their achievements and the foundation they made for the future during their graduation ceremony at the Salem Civic Center on Thursday, June 14.

When it was all said and done, approximately 285 students walked across the stage to receive their diplomas from Principal Scott Habeeb. Assistant Principal Chris King, Assistant Principal Bridget Nelson, Director of Guidance Regina Meredith and Assistant Principal Chris Wilkes also assisted in the diploma presentation.

“It is an honor to represent this faculty that’s served these kids for so long. These graduates have been on a journey for 13 years. After today, the next exciting chapter of their life begins,” said Principal Habeeb. “Today is also a celebration of an entire community that got them to where they are today.”

Like many graduates, Alexis Bebout was overcome with emotion when her name was called.

“I was both excited and sad on graduation day,” she said. “My high school career was long and strenuous but also very rewarding and satisfying. I want to study human resources in college to become a social worker. Salem High has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams.”

The first person Aaron Leffler hugged after receiving his diploma was his mother. The future Virginia Western student credits his parents for providing him with the necessary resources needed to be successful in life.

“My career at Salem High went by fast, but I enjoyed it. From day one, my parents were always there,” he said. “Salem High helped me find a trade I will enjoy for years to come. While in high school, I took both auto body and welding. These classes have shown me that there is money to be made as a blue collar worker and there is no shame in pursuing a technical career.”

Added his father Jim: “Aaron had a lot of support during the nearly year-long fight with cancer, brain surgery, chemo and radiation. He kept a strong positive attitude and never once complained, despite being very sick. He had a lot of support from the community, and this made us all stronger knowing that prayers and well wishes were sent on his behalf.”

Claire Maxey is another teenager who speaks very highly of her high school experience.

“Some of my favorite memories include all of the field trips we went on. I got to go to Universal Studios in Florida as a junior and Carowinds in North Carolina as a sophomore,” she said. “Making the honor roll the first semester of my senior year was another highlight. Wherever I go in life, I will always remember Salem High for the memories.”

Ever since he was a child, Viante Tucker was told to cherish his high school experience because there is no going back once it’s over.

“Winning the football state championship three years in a row would absolutely be a highlight, but there were plenty more,” he said. “I will be attending Fork Union Military to see how far I can take my football talents. When I think of my fellow graduates, I see limitless potential. Salem High School taught us that there isn’t anything we cannot accomplish if we surround ourselves with supportive individuals and work hard.”