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With last step, Shelby’s seniors ready to take on the world

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Nearly 450 students graduated from the areas 3 schools Saturday

By Todd Martin

Nearly 450 seniors took the first step toward their futures Saturday as Collins, Cornerstone and Shelby County schools held their graduation ceremonies.

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But these students seem more than ready to meet the challenges of the world, not to mention college, considering 237 SCHS seniors, 187 Collins seniors and 9 Cornerstone seniors earned about $3 million in scholarships, grants and awards.

Amid the popping flashes, the crying parents and cheering friends and siblings was the admittance, and sometimes reluctance, of the upcoming change for these seniors.

“It’s been a long twelve years, but I don’t know if I’m quite ready yet,” Collins Senior Class President Isaac English said. “This was just a building two years ago, but it’s much more now. This is my school and my graduating class.”

And it wasn’t only students and parents taking time to pause on the future while reflecting on the past.

Collins Principal Anthony, who opened the school two years ago and announced his retirement with this school year, needed a few minutes to gather his emotions as he reminded those graduating seniors that they “will forever be Titans.”

That sentiment was echoed by Collins Valedictorian Erica Ribenboim, who also expressed that fear that accompanies the unknown future facing the graduates.

“I’ve been counting down the days since March, but now I don’t want to go,” she said. “There are things we’ll all be glad to be away from, like the dress code none of us followed, the homework and the cafeteria food. But this has been a journey for us all, and as one ends, it marks the beginning of another.”

Ribenboim was one of 76 students cited for the academic excellence during their Collins’ careers. She was one of the 31 students recognized as Summa Cum Laude, finishing the year with a GPA better than 4.1 and the qualifying Advanced Placement course load. There were also 16 students recognized as Magna Cum Laude, a 3.7 to 4.1 GPA, and 29 as Cum Laude, a 3.5 to 3.7 GPA. There were also seven students recognized for scoring a 30 or better on the ACT college entrance exam.

At Shelby County High School, 71 students earned honors recognition, with 26 earning Summa Cum Laude, 22 Magna Cum Laude and 23 Cum Laude. And 15 students scored better than a 30 on the ACT.

Shelby County Senior Class President Samuel Martin took time to remind his classmates that the future is bright and ready to be taken.

“What’s behind us and before us is small in comparison to what lies ahead,” he said. “We’ve been guided toward success. Now it’s time for us, Class of 2012, to make the most of our blessings from God.”

SCHS Valedictorian Patrick Casper wrapped his message to embrace the future with words his classmates are more familiar with.

“Remember that the small community of Shelby County gave us this opportunity,” he said. “So embrace the future — You only live once. Or as we say, YOLO!”