It’s Tuesday, June 8, and in less than 24 hours approximately 250 seniors are expected to receive their Salem High School Diploma inside the Salem Civic Center. Eighteen-year-old Trey McDearmon is on a New Jersey train reflecting on everything he’s been through over the last four years.
“What a ride it’s been,” are some of the thoughts currently in his head. “Salem High is a special place. Not just because it is full of great people, but also because those people live for the right thing in the right way. No place is perfect, but my high school has given me memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.”
When Trey received his diploma from Principal Scott Habeeb, he let out a huge sigh of relief. Twenty-five years ago, it was the Salem Principal who was walking across the stage to get his diploma from Christiansburg High School.
“There is no more exciting time to be in this position than today,” he said. “This day is much bigger than just celebrating the accomplishments of these students. This is a day where we all come together and celebrate an entire community. Some many people have been a part of these young people’s lives and without them, this day would not be possible.”
Alex Anana wasn’t surprised at how many people packed into the Salem Civic Center. “Of course, families are going to be there but it was pretty great to see a whole community show up and support all of the graduates,” the future Virginia Tech Biological Science Major said. “I was one of the first to get called so the waiting period was a little short, but my heart was racing.”
Tim Sherman plans on attending Roanoke College in the Fall. “I’m going to miss everything about Salem High,” he said. “It’ll take more effort to socialize with them now, but I have some really great friends so I doubt we’ll drift apart.”
When he looks back over his high school career, Carter Noell is most proud of being a trumpet player in The Pride of Salem Marching Band. “I have had many duets and solos in my four years including being a lead trumpet player for three of them,” he said. “To quote my old band Director Chris Wilkes, ‘It’s been real, it’s been fun and you know what? It has been real fun.’”
Izzy Danstrom knows that listening to her parents is a big reason why she got accepted into Christopher Newport University. “I will be in their honors and leadership programs,” she said. “While waiting for my name to get called, I reflected in my mind of how thankful I was for everyone, especially my family, and how they allowed me to make it to that point.”
“These students have been on this journey for 13 years and they have gone through all sorts of things,” Principal Scott said. “They are now ready to move on to the next exciting chapter of their lives.”