New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | May 30, 2023

Advice plentiful for NKHS grads leaving the ‘fishbowl’

By Alan Chamberlain | June 24, 2010 9:39 am

Katie Jeter took a few lighthearted jabs at mortarboards, “Pomp and Circumstance,” and graduations in general. And at times, she managed to poke a little fun at herself.

But along with the overall humorous tone of her speech, the valedictorian of New Kent High School’s Class of 2010 sprinkled in words of wisdom and advice for her 208 classmates seated inside VCU’s Siegel Center for June 12 commencement exercises.

“We’re leaving the nest, or the fishbowl, or whatever you want to call it for whatever we, or fate, decide comes next,” she told graduates.

“So what can I tell you? Not a whole lot you don’t already have figured out for yourself,” she said.

“What do I know about life? Certainly no more than you,” she went on, offering three general rules she dubbed “nursery school knowledge applied to the real world” for classmates to ponder.

“People are strange,” she announced as rule number one. “Now I know that’s a little ironic, but just because I seem strange to you doesn’t mean you’re normal. People change and act in strange ways. You have to remember that there really is no normal. Everybody is strange, so don’t worry about being normal; just worry about being you.”

Rule number two dealt with sharing.

“Sharing will get you far in life,” she said. “It earns you respect, favor, and friends.”

And with rule number three, she urged classmates to keep an open mind.

“It’s the only way you’re gonna survive out there,” she said. “People and plans change. You have to be flexible enough to run with it and roll with the punches.

“So remember Class of 2010, we’ve made it this far,” she said. “Just keep your head down and keep moving, because out there in the real world, we’re suddenly freshmen all over again.”

Salutatorian Jamie Faircloth congratulated classmates on navigating through high school, noting their cases of “senioritis” are now cured.

Class president Haley Johnston recalled classmates’ school career highlights and said graduation represents the biggest milestone thus far in their lives.

“We have also suffered together the loss of classmates, the departure of beloved teachers, budget cuts, SOLs, SATs, heartaches and breakups,” she said. “These experiences have helped us to become young men and women who are productive members of society, and after all, isn’t that really what our education was really all about?”

School Superintendent Rick Richardson delivered words of advice through parables along with quotes from successful individuals.

“Today is the day we come together as a community to celebrate the sentiment expressed in New Kent County’s motto: Pride in the past; faith in the future,” he told graduates. “What we’re really here to celebrate is pride in your past and our faith in your future.”

Richardson noted that ground was broken on the county’s new high school when graduates were ninth graders. Construction was completed when they were 10th graders, and as 11th graders, they moved in.

“As 12th graders, you’ve given senior leadership critical to the school’s functioning,” he said. “You have been a class that led, and that may be your legacy.”

The Class of 2010 features 65 honor graduates (3.0 or higher GPA), 13 athletes going on to college competition, and 42 scholarship recipients whose awards total $627,235.