WEST JEFFERSON — Ashe County High School held its graduation ceremony in the ACHS gymnasium Friday, May 31, celebrating the accomplishments and accolades of its most recent graduating class.

Among other student and faculty speakers, valedictorian Anna Blackburn spoke to the graduates just before the student crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.

“It is hard to believe that we are in our last few moments of high school,” Blackburn said. “By my calculations, we have spent 720 days together here over the last four years. I know that on some of these days we felt like graduation would never be here, but I hope we can find comfort in the fact that there were just as many days when we wanted to savor the end of high school for as long as possible.”

Blackburn continued, adding that high school graduation has become a traditional expectation of society, but it is important to celebrate the accomplishment.

“We must recognize that we’ve spent the last 13 years of our lives getting an education and enlightening ourselves to the realities of the world,” Blackburn said

Blackburn would later praise her class for venturing outside its educational comfort zones.

“By making it this far and graduating high school, each of us has already demonstrated that we are seeking something beyond,” Blackburn said.

With students pursuing many different career paths, Blackburn urged her classmates that some characteristics have positive results no matter the walk of life.

“Some of us already know what our role will be, while others are still in the process of discovering,” Blackburn said. “No matter where you are in this process, it is important to recognize that determination and hard work are vital in success in any area.”

Before students crossed the stage, received their diploma and were officially pronounced graduates, Blackburn left her classmates with words of encouragement.

“Many years from now, we will look back on the Ashe County High School Class of 2019 and proudly say that we affected positive change in the world around us,” Blackburn said. “It has been an incredible honor to share the past four years with all of you, and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”

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