Corsicana High School 2003 Graduation


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6/1/2003 VALEDICTORIAN, Laurie Hamilton - Commencement speech

Family, friends, faculty and honored guests, I would like to begin by thanking you on the behalf of all of the graduates for sharing this memorable day with us, whether it be in person or in spirit. Without you, none of us would be standing here. I also want to thank each graduate for allowing me the opportunity to spend my high school years with a class as close as we are. I will carry a piece of each of you in my heart throughout my life. Tonight, we celebrate and bring to a close the wonderful high school years which we have been very privileged to spend together. Most importantly, I want to say congratulations to all my fellow graduates. Each of us has been faced with different challenges and problems during the past four years at CHS, yet we have pushed ourselves and are here together tonight. We have left our mark in the halls, traditions, and family at CHS, and tonight we can finally say "We are graduates!"

Many of us began our journeys together in a sandbox, as small children, learning the values of friendship and kindness. We've traveled this long road together, picking each other up as we fell, learning valuable lessons of life and scholarship, and giving praise to each other as we achieved our goals. We have proven that no matter what road blocks or challenges stand before us, we have the capabilities to surpass them.

Although some were not here from the beginning, I am proud to say that our class drew each new face in with open arms. Fellow graduates, we have grown from strangers to acquaintances, acquaintances to friends, and now our friendships have molded into a family. Without each other and the guidance of our families and faculty, many of the memories we will cherish forever would never have taken place. I challenge each graduate to remember the importance of family, fellowship, and friendship as we move forward into the next stage of our lives.

As we pass through this night, which we have been ever approaching, feelings of anticipation as to what lies beyond the comforting walls of CHS are everywhere. The potential of our graduating class is infinite. Take a moment and look around. Among us, there could be the next Einstein, George Bush or Julia Roberts. Each of us should feel honored to be a building block in the formation of a class as unique as ours. We all have the capability to achieve any dream. Our self-motivation and determination for success is what has brought us here to stand together tonight. I urge each of you to accept no less than the best in yourselves. Let nothing and no one hold you back.

The next step each of us will take is much larger than any we have taken in the past. Whether going to college, to the military, or to work, for the first time in our lives, we leap into the adult world without the comforting support of our family and friends, which we often overlooked and did not appreciate. Because our class has grown so close at heart, the mark of Corsicana, Class of 2003, will be imprinted and remembered in every place we venture. Follow your heart in everything you pursue; sometimes it may ache, but it will never fail you.

As I stand here and look at all the familiar faces surrounding me, I am astonished at how quickly this period of our lives has passed. It seems like only yesterday, we took our first steps into the high school, shaking with excitement and fear, not knowing what to expect. After tonight, we will once again place our feet on unfamiliar ground. When the nerves and butterflies reappear, remember how well your high school years turned out, and know that only bigger and better opportunities await you! Yes ... new and different can be better. Each experience is only what you make of it. In order to have the most fulfilling life possible, you must live and cherish each moment as if it was your last.

In closing, I challenge each of you, fellow graduates, to remember the past, strive for the future, but live for today, because as each moment passes, you will never have the chance to relive it. I urge you to make each moment worth remembering! We've done a pretty good job at that so far ... Class of 'O3, we owe it to ourselves. I give my best wishes to each of you as we start a new chapter in our lives. Congratulations graduates, we are finally out of here!


6/1/2003 LEVELS OF EXCELLENCE: CHS Valedictorian; Late push ensures climb to top by Hamilton

By DERRICK STUCKLY/Daily Sun Staff

It was mere days prior to Friday night's Corsicana High School commencement ceremony that valedictorian Laurie Hamilton learned her dedication and determination in the classroom had netted her the top honor in the class of 2003.

"I realized how close it was and then I started working really hard in the end so I would end up being (valedictorian) and it was a relief at the end to finally know," Hamilton said in a Friday afternoon interview. "I'm really excited."

After learning of her status in the class rankings following her freshman year, Hamilton stepped up her efforts to maintain her grades.

"I've always pushed myself to do the best that I can and then after my freshman year I was No. 1 and that's what I wanted to end up being," Hamilton said.

Hamilton -- the youngest of two daughters of Kyle and Suzette Hamilton, following 21-year-old sister Sarah -- will pursue a communications degree at The University of the Texas in Austin next fall as she becomes a freshman once more.

"I've been accepted in the College of Communications and I'm probably going to double major in public relations and advertising," Hamilton said. "It's close, but far away. I like the big school and the Austin atmosphere."

Hamilton chose her field of study based upon her enjoyment of people and their personalities.

"I really like working with people," Hamilton said. "Every job that I've had, I've always been really involved with people and I wanted to do something where I go to work every day for the rest of my life loving what I do instead of dreading it. Spending time with people, I think, will be a lot of fun."

Hamilton had plenty of opportunities to spend time with classmates as her list of high school activities included being on the volleyball, soccer and golf teams periodically throughout her high school career. She was also a four-year member of the student council -- serving as historian as a junior and as president her senior year -- a two-year member of the National Honor Society, a three-year member of the Spanish Club and also took part in SADD.

Though she is unsure of which activities she will take part in at The University of Texas, Hamilton does expect to continue to stay busy.

"I haven't thought about it that much as far as exactly what I want to be in," Hamilton said, "but I know I want to be really involved because it's a good way to make friends and be involved in school."

Hamilton credits her parents, as well former Tiger girls soccer coach Ronnie Shiflet and current high school counselor Barbara Phillips, for inspiring her to her accomplishments.

"My parents always made me do it by myself," Hamilton said. "They would encourage me to do my best, but they wouldn't do it for me. They made me make my own choices.

"Coach Shiflet, who coached me in soccer my freshman year ... and Mrs. Phillips has been a big influence on me. She's always had the door open and ready to help."


6/1/2003 LEVELS OF EXCELLENCE: CHS salutatorian; Doing well, not ranking, priority for Sandoval

By MICAH CHAPLIN/Daily Sun Staff

The issue of graduating second in his class never really entered the thoughts of Gabriel Sandoval.

"I tried to do well, but it wasn't ever a main goal," he said.

Sandoval was born to Miguel and Rhina Sandoval in El Salvador, but the family moved to Corsicana when he was 18 months old.

Since then, Sandoval has been on the go and remained busy throughout his high school years. His activities include National Honor Society, Boys State, French Club, band, jazz band and UIL Poetry competition. In just his second year of competition, Sandoval advanced to UIL regionals.

Sandoval credits John Devos, director of bands, and Aimee Kasprzyk, the art teacher and poetry coach, as his biggest influences.

Sandoval's fondest memories, however, are from his experiences at Boys State.

"It was incredible to meet the top students from high schools all over the state of Texas and interact with them," Sandoval said. "I had a lot of fun."

Sandoval, who was recently recognized for receiving all A's throughout his high school career, was accepted into Berkeley. Boston is not his primary destination, however.

"It's very expensive," he said.

Instead, Sandoval is headed for Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos to pursue a degree in sound recording technology.

"It mixes math and music," Sandevol said. "Southwest has a good program and it's in Texas. It's important for me to stay in Texas, at least for my first day."

Math and music are Sandoval's. In fact, continuing his music is one of his plans for the summer.

"Hopefully, I'll be working, but I don't have a job yet," he said. "And I have to take guitar and violin lessons."

Sandoval has been playing the guitar for six years and the violin for nearly two. He also played percussion for the Tiger band.

As for involvement in college, Sandoval has no formal plans.

"I want to get involved," he said. "I'm hoping to get into an honors program or a service organization."

When he graduates, Sandoval plans to become a recording engineer and eventually become head engineer of a recording studio.


6/1/2003 SALUTATORIAN, Gabriel Sandoval - Commencement Speech

In order to commence a salutatory speech, one must be at the beginning of the ceremony ... but OH! What is this? Could this be the end?

Yeah, it probably is, but that's beside the point.

Also included in this introduction would be some sort of credentials, but I could not make up enough organizations to really drive my point so I opted to skip that part.

Next, one has to have something philosophical to state. Something about how our forefathers (who to me would be someone like Don Quixote or something) set the moral and intellectual standards that should be followed today, or vice versa.

OH! Or maybe one could state some witty story and relate it to moving on and finding oneself.

Finally, one must raise his hands in total admiration of the fact that ... oh wait ... everybody's asleep, well, never mind.

I guess that I should stick to standardization. The true reason for this speech lies not in its words. I could talk about mimsy and crazy Mr. Khan, but if the accents were put in place properly, then the message would be understood. Seniors, I am here to salute the class. Successful beyond expectations and with a potential beyond its current accomplishments; I merely urge you to pursue excellence in whatever you choose to do. This, of course, does not need to be decided now. One could think that because graduation suddenly occurs that one's life should already be planned. No, instead of forcing fantasized futures upon the mind, attempt to follow your passion and live with constant effort. Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to live a life of change, for statues collect dust, and quickly lose their luster.

For inspirational words, I would like to quote a very famous person ... whose name I seem to have forgotten right now:

"Hey baby, don't forget to call me ... later ..."

Uhm, I'm sorry, that was the wrong piece of paper.

Okay, here's the real thing:

"I done came up, put my life on the line,

Soaked the game up, now it's my time to shine,

Time to change up, no more second in line."

Oh! And before I forget, I should say this: Congratulations seniors on everything that you did during these past four years and as far as the saluting part of this speech goes, I only say this ...

 


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