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Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Magical Night

Talladega High School’s graduation ceremony, Thursday, May 28th , was truly a magical night and for a brief moment in time a common theme emerged in the minds and hearts of Talladega…someone very special was coming to town and her focus was OUR graduating seniors. This special someone was an elegant, brilliant lady named Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the commencement speaker.

This magical night began as just a simple idea…maybe this fine lady would accept an invitation to visit our fair city. Some folks might have thought it was a long shot, too expensive, impossible. Yet the invitation was accepted, cost nothing, and was a complete success.

Thank goodness that Dr. Horton and Central Office staff made that first effort and planned with an end in mind. The “end” in mind was that she and her employees could do something truly magical for the seniors. The Superintendent wanted something wonderful and magical for the 2009 graduating class and followed through to make it happen.

This magical night was preceded by careful consideration of how the event could be shared with others. Many discussions about location, security, organization, a gift for the speaker, and so many other topics were held. Accommodating such a large audience was a huge concern. But even with so many possible obstacles, the planning continued, problems were solved, and the night was flawless.

Weeks before the event, Talladega pulled together as a city and employees across the district pitched in to cover such things as preparing the program, mailing invitations, handling tickets procedures, preparing of the grounds, checking the sound system, sprucing up the reception room, and many other details. No task was left undone. Even on the night of the ceremony, employees could be seen still at work making things perfect for the graduates.

As I looked in the stands and all around me, I saw smiles and faces filled with pride. Talladega was proud of its students, our leaders were of one accord, and everyone had a common goal in mind-- celebrating the accomplishments of these fine boys and girls. Dr. Rice came to speak to our seniors, yet her message was far more reaching.

This magical night didn’t just happen, but transpired after much planning, team effort, action, and hard work. And for this magical night, our city came together as a harmonious whole.

The police department, the city mayor, school board, city council, administrators, politicians, parents, teachers, district employees, family members, citizens, and students all gathered to celebrate the end of high school and beginning of life. May we always remember this magical night and digest Dr. Rice’s words of wisdom.

Follow your passion...When you are convinced that you are right, find someone with a different opinion...Don't ever lose your thirst for knowledge.

Can we take this message and apply it to our own lives? Perhaps we can become passionate about our city flourishing. Maybe by truly listening to others who have differing opinions we can find ways to continue growing and prospering. And Dr. Rice’s last bit of advice, “continue to grow in knowledge,” is especially important because the more we know about each other, the better the decisions will be. Dr. Rice’s message could become a catalyst and reminder that our children deserve not only a good commencement speaker, but a united effort to make life better for every one of them. We can serve as role models who take these words of wisdom to heart.

I choose to believe that there is a desire in Talladega to provide the best for the children. Maybe by following these three bits of wisdom, we can keep the magic going. We can hold on to that pride we felt on graduation night. The future seniors of Talladega City Schools deserve it.

Congratulations, Class of 2009!


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