Class of 2015 Raiders told to ‘dream, imagine, hope’

442 walk in 42nd annual RSHS commencement

By Kevin Spradlin

* Photo gallery — Set 1 (procession)Set 2 (awarding of diplomas)
* Video
* Hernandez beats the odds
Russell, Pittman lead Class of 2015
* ‘A springboard for the future’
* 2014 PDP commencement coverage

ROCKINGHAM — With all due respect to his teammates in tennis and soccer, John Pittman admitted he learned more about life from the game of basketball.

At the age of 16, Pittman wasn’t real tall— not tall enough to get much playing time. Even on the recreational team.

Kevin Spradlin | Javae Cross accepts her diploma from Richmond Senior High School Principal Keith  McKenzie during the Raiders' 42nd annual commencement Friday night in Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin |
Javae Cross accepts her diploma from Richmond Senior High School Principal Keith McKenzie during the Raiders’ 42nd annual commencement Friday night in Rockingham.

“It’s even more embarrassing,” Pittman said, “when the coach who doesn’t start you is your dad.”

But Pittman, salutatorian for Richmond Senior High School’s Class of 2015, told his 441 fellow graduates and the spectator-filled home bleachers inside Raider Stadium on Friday for the school’s 42nd annual commencement that it’s important to “find a role” in life.

He spoke highly of the “scrappers” in life; the type of people who might not be the world’s business tycoons but who fight for every loose ball on the court. They’re the ones, Pittman said, who work hard to get the job done.

Pittman invoked the words of the late great coach John Wooden. The UCLA hoops legend with 10 NCAA championships, including seven in a row, once said, “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

Pittman acknowledged that students might have mixed feelings about leaving Richmond Senior High School and even, for those going on to college or the military, Richmond County itself. But if LeBron James can find a reason to miss and return to Cleveland, Pittman said, “I know all of us will find something to miss about Richmond County.”

Kevin Spradlin | Valedictorian Molly Russell spoke of how technology can be used to bind the current generation.

Kevin Spradlin |
Valedictorian Molly Russell spoke of how technology can be used to bind the current generation.

His most lasting words of advice, still in basketball parlance: “No player on the court is the same as you. Don’t be scared to be you.”

Valedictorian Molly Russell talked about the difference in perspectives older people might have about technology compared with her fellow graduates. She said while some consider technology as something that keeps people apart, and keeps them from connecting with others, it is because of technology that “we are the generation that has the world at our fingertips.”

“What if,” Russell posed, “technology was to be cherished because it binds us together?”

Like technology, Russell said, being a graduate of Richmond Senior High School is something that will bind each of the 442 graduates of the Class of 2015.

“We are Raiders,” Russell said. “Thanks for the adventure, now go have a new one.”

Kevin Spradlin | Salutatorian John Pittman encouraged his fellow graduates to find their roles in life.

Kevin Spradlin |
Salutatorian John Pittman encouraged his fellow graduates to find their roles in life.

The procession, a single lap around the track, began at 8:02 p.m., accompanied by “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the mixed Raider and Rockingham Middle School bands. The procession was led by members of the school’s Army JROTC unit. RSHS junior and chief marshal Angela Chen offered words of welcome to the audience before the JROTC students presented the colors. The Raider Choir, under the direction of John Tyson, performed the national anthem.

Principal Keith McKenzie then challenged the graduates seated before him on the football field to “dream, imagine (and) hope.”

“You have proved that hard work pays off,” McKenzie said.

The receiving line to distribute the diplomas to each student included Athletic Director Ricky Young, McKenzie, Superintendent Dr. Cindy Goodman and a fourth position rotating between school board members and other district officials.

By 9:20 p.m., each of the 442 graduates had his or her diploma in hand. The band stopped playing, the stadium lights were turned off and the visitors’ bleachers lit up with “2015” as the graduates chanted “15! 15! 15!”

A short fireworks display capped the evening’s festivities.

Kevin Spradlin | Hydei Meshell Blanchard is congratulated by Dr. Cindy Goodman, superintendent of Richmond County Schools.

Kevin Spradlin |
Hydei Meshell Blanchard is congratulated by Dr. Cindy Goodman, superintendent of Richmond County Schools.

Class of 2015 

Mirka Celeste Acosta, Viridiana Aguirre, Breanna Nicole Alexson, Nautica Anyaa Allbrooks, Jalon Travell Scot Almond, Amari Monquie Alsbrook, Daniesha Adonnica Alsbrook, Jessica Alvarado, Cameron Laine Anderson, Devarius Altonio Anderson, Kavon Rasheed Anderson, Keiona Elizabeth Victoria Anthony, Justin Daniel Ard, Dylan Colt Auman, MaKayla Ilene Bacon, Kayla McKenzie Dennis Baldwin, Kearra Shenea’ Baldwin, Le’Naya Semone Baldwin, Andrew Scott Balzer, Dillon Kenneth Barbour, Summer Lee Marie Barbour, John Edward-Cole Barrington, Denise Ruby Vargas Barrios, Ethan Tyler Baucom, Jerry Lynn Bell Jr., TyKem Armin Bell, Heather Lynnette Bellamy, Raquan Amond Travail Bethea, Anthony Jefferson Billingsley, Justin Allen Bingham, Joshua Tyler Black, Hydei Meshell Blanchard, Gary Lamont Blue, Marissa Leann Blue, Nicholas Ryan Blue, Stephen Keith Bowden, Samantha Veronica Bowen, Ethan Martin Brach, Cordarius Jaron Brewington, Jaquiesha Lashaye Brewington, Briana Destinee Bright, Nauteeka Savon Bright, Victoria Elizabeth Brigman, Junior Kelly Brito, Deonte Khahill Brown, ShaQuan Alexander Brown, Jordan Aaron Buie, Chaselyn Kay Bullard, John Michael Burgess, Isaiah Jonathan Akema Burnett, David Philli Burr, Chassity Jean Butler, Joseph Dillon Butler, Kayla Joan Butler, Albert Lee Byrd Jr., Sherri Denise Byrd, Richard Dylan Callahan, Tyrell Dashawn Camlin, Grayson Isabelle Campbell, Jessica Taylor Canter, Danielle Alexis Carmichael, Dylan Chase Carpenter, Ashley Janette Carter, James Charles Carter II, Gustavus Lashaw Chambers Jr., Sergio Mirsael Chaparro, Heather Nicole Chappell, Alicia ShaKemia Childres, Justin Lee Chinn, Ashtan Taylor Coggins, James Ryan Cole, Kiarra Naomi Cole, Assante’ Essence Collins, Dalton Grey Collins, Quatima Mashay Collins, Quinton Lamar Cooper, Alexis Kardeese Covington, Ahyana Janae’ Cox, Hannah Nicole Craven, Christopher David Warren Crawford, Javae Nateise Cross, Charles Frederick Crouch Jr., Ethan Chase Crouch

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Kenneth Junior Darhower III, Crystal Alanda David, Chelsea Lori Anna Davis, Dadriene Qualeel Davis, Kayla Shyteria Rena’ Davis, Keeman Jefferson Davis, Savanah Taylor Davis, Xavier Rashad Davis, Davie Stephon Dawkins Jr., Angelica Leigh Deaver, Erika Katelyn DeBerry, Christin Renae Deese, Michael Blake Deese, Haleigh Francis Denham, Devin Christopher DeWitt, Alyia Chantel Dixon, Tatyana Dominique Latoya Dobson, Adriana LaTrice Dockery, Jermisha Shantrell Dockery, Owen Dante Dockery, Telicia Lashay Dockery, Dyamond Christal Dodson, Leslie Irene Doty, Lakeyia Annette Douglas, Kyron Bryant Drake Jr., Charles Mark Stacy Duncan, Tierra Mechele Dupuy, Skylar Nicole Edwards, Rashadd Kaleal Ellerbe, Aaron Heath English, Shawn Purnell Everett Jr., Dazia Lashonda Shemere’ Everett-Ewings, Cody Ryan Ezzell, Nile Essence Unique Fisher, Alexis Dacole Fletcher, Michael Joe Fletcher, Taylor Colby Forester, Zachary Ryan Freeman, Kaylin Elizabeth Fulp, Rebecca Ivy Fyans

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Armando Garcia, Raeli Scott Garner, Baran Stefon Germany, Brandon Michael Gibson, Brooke Nicole Gibson, Monika Shawntrice Gibson, Ephfini Moet Goins, Lacy Alexander Goins, Sierra Neche’ Goins, Patrick Dylan Gomiller, Guillermo Zapata Gongora , Meagan Renee Goodson, Sarah Grace Goodwin, Kevin Brant Gould, Stanley Jamar Gould, Jasmine Lianne Grace, Darriel Scott Graham, Jenna Elizabeth Graham, Marqise Jajuan Kenneth Graham, Rashun Shaleek Graham, Tamara Danielle Graham, Alexis Jo Grant, Miles Anthony Grant, Brandon Taylor Greene, Erran Tre’Vette Greene, Sakya Jada La’Kie Griffin, Joseph McRay Griffith, McKenzie Lee Grimes, Billy Jaquevais Gunter, Henry Marquez Gutierrez, Alexis Seymone Hailey, Skyler Marie Haire, Olivia Nichole Haley, Jonathan Nolan Harrell, A’Daysa La’Keya Hartwell, Skylar Dayne Harwood, Juliet Leann Hatmaker, Domanica Lena Hay, Hunter Chase Hayes, Charles Benjamin Hearne, Craig Henderson, Amy Her, Angelis Javier Hernandez Jr., Hector Leon Hernandez , Jonathan Alberto Hernandez, Maria de Jesus Esmerelda Hernandez, Kayla Sierra Hicks, Sidney Tate Hodges, Hayley Elizabeth Hoffman, Breanna Nichole Holden, Cameron Danielle Holmes, Jerrod Ray-Kwon Horne, Brian Andrew Hoskins, Ja’keh De’Marcus Hough, Daulton Lee Howell, Abbie Elizabeth Hudson, Carles Mataio Ingram, Shanita Dionne Ingram, Yasmine Zhane’ Ingram

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Lyric Lavon Jackson-Wall, Reginald Eric Jamison Jr., Dalton Cole Jenkins, A’Kia LaShondra Nichelle Johnson, Camilla Lydia Johnson, Candacio MonTeck Johnson, Devan Rashad Johnson, Jacquelyn Jaserian Johnson, Jamie Nicole Johnson, William Henry Johnson Jr., Carl Andre’ Jones III, Jordan Montel Jones, Cedrick Jamal Joseph, Genny Juarez, Johnny Juarez, Autumn Alise Kegebein, Tabitha Renae Kempen, Hayley Michelle Kottwitz, Draco Jordan Lacroix, Krissma; Anne Marie Laursen, Hunter Gray Lawrence, RayShawn Devante Leake, Kandler Jean Ledwell, OluRoTimi Lee Jr., Taylor Marie Lee, Davina Anne LeGrande, Natalie Francis Leppien, Rudy Luis Leppien, Docy Allan Leviner, Garrett Cole Leviner, Ramey Taylor Leviner, Candice Arin Liles, Ny      uan Jahmal Lindsey, Yemenhi Taalid Lindsey, Gregory James Little Jr., Jawan Terrell Little, Shavar Arkale Little, Juwan Malik Lockhart, Brittney Michelle Locklear, David Aaron Locklear, Hannah Nicole Lovin, Jordan Faith Lovin

Alexandra Darrian Mabe, Cody Tyler Mabe, Sengthavy Bruce Manivanh, Scotlin Nicole Maples, Desmond Davale Marshall, Benjamin Jalynn Martin, Sarah Anne Maske, Robert Laird Mauk III, Sha’Monica Aaliyah McCain, Britanee Paige McDonald, Dexter Lamont McDonald Jr., Michael Sean McDuffie, Jenna Grace McGee, Daniel Pratt McInnis III, Katie Lynette McIntyre, Malik Damon McKay, Christopher Jackson McKenzie II, Taylor Leanne McKenzie, Breanna Lynn McKinnon, Raekwon Mickel McKinnon, Justice Da’Jon McLaurin, Shania Sade McLaurin, Meredith Lynn McLean, Alana Beth McQueen, Jamisha Quantrez McRae, Joseph Andrew McRae, Richard Henry McRae II, Joshua Patrick Meehan, Russell Alberto Mejia, Cailin Elizabeth Messer, Luis Andres Miguel-Garcia, Jeffrey Dalton Millen, Megan Elizabeth Mills, Sean Alexander Moore, Sterling Keith Moore, Yantuhan Rivera Morales, Donald Ray Morgan Jr., Aliyah Ashanti Muhammad, Angie Mujica, George Henry Mullen IV, Nicholas Ryan Nance, Caleb Jansen Neeley, Hannah Leigh Nelson, Harrison Tyerell Nelson, Rayquan Malik Nelson, Stephanie Brooke Nicholas, Nyemond Saforee Nichols, Christian Omar Nicholson, Jarae’ Iman Nicholson, Kallaih Marsha Nicholson, Andrew Blake Norton, Kevin Michael Norton, Holeigh Suzanne O’Brien, Cameron Michael Ogburn, Clarissa Ojeda, Heaven’Lee Angel Outlaw, Kellie Elizabeth Owenby

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Christian Gabriel Padron, Haley Faith Parker, Terry Russell Parker Jr., Logan Russell Parris, Justin Sherrill Parsons, Khushbu J. Patel, Rebecca Cheyanne Patrick, Daquan Markee Patterson, Davian Shawdaja Rajee Patterson, Emoni Najah Patterson, Gregory Octavis Patterson, Octavius Jamal Patterson, Ciara Katelynn Patton, Aleah Shynae Pearson, Quentin Juanya’ Pearson-Lindsey, Kacie Breanne Peek, Maizey Dawn Peek, Jordan Alexander Perakis, Amelia Lauren Perkins, Alanna Shay Peterson, Tre’Vonne Diquael Pettigrew, Nguyen The Phan, Chad Andrew Phillips, Anthony Allen Grant Pierce, John Watson Pittman, Nekia Jacinta Louise Platt, Deauntre’ Lawone Poole, Jessica Leanne Povish, Kiera Symone Powell, Lauren Bailey Preslar, Miranda Nicole Puckett, Jodi Lynn Purvis, De’Vonte JaQuain Quick, Gabrielle Kay Quick, Jasmine Elizabeth Quick, Shauntale Latrice Quick, Ti’Asia Jania Moesha Quick, Laura Ashton Ramsey, Elijah Bernard Ratliff, Marion Arquisa Ratliff, Tanisha Nakia Ratliff, Rogelio Reyes-Garcia, Erica Elizabeth Rich, Victoria Logan Rich, Jordan Elizabeth Richardson, Caleb Garrett Ricks, Jarod Bret Ricks, Changler De’von Ridges, Willis Tyquil Riggins, Matthew Hunter Rizzolo, Jessica Alexandra Roberts, Tanika Breanna Roberts, Cristian De’Angelo Robinson, Justin Maurice Robinson, Tyeshia Mona Robinson, Jua Miguel Juarez Rodriguez, Josue’ Roman-Hermenegildo, Hoskar Romero, Travis Blake Rorie, Jeremy Michael Ross, Tyler McCoy Rowell, Jacob David Ruperd, Ma’Lek Rasheem Rush, Molly Caroline Russell, Brandon Avery Russell-Walker

Ashley Cecilia Santiage, Katie Lin Satterfield, Zachary Ryan Scott, Carlos Visoso Sedano, Matthew Tyler Sellers, Megan Aubrey Shankle, McKenzie Lane Shepard, Kieondra Le’sha Short, Madeline Blair Simmons, Christian Gage Singletary, Cassie Rae Smith, Heaven Unique Brown Smith, Jonathan Wayne Smith, Jordan Bailey Smith, Jordan Tyler Smith, Joshua David Smith, Jylan Jayshawn Smith, Kianeisha Nashea Smith, Michael Aron Smith, Stanley Christopher Smith Jr., Tia Janelle Smith, Myers Alvis Souder, Matthew Logan Speight, Cyrus Isiah Stanback, Shaquanda Maia Stancil, Myles David Steele, Dhawna J’Anise Steele, David Adam Steffen Jr., Jordyn Danielle Stewart, Travonda Monae Streeter, Whitney Makeda Streeter, Dimond Tiera Stroman, Quinten Lovon Stroman, Ashley Nicole Hope Stubbs, Robert James Stubbs, Brandon Chase Summey, Andria Surgeon, Jacob Daniel Suskie, Benjamin James Szymarek, Quston Hailey Taylor, Destiny Elizabeth Teal, Kenddrick Kavonte’ Terrell, Demarius Lee Terry, Marty Thomas Terry Jr., Patrick Thomas Terry, Quentin Elijah Terry, Braxton Tyler Thomas, TyRel LaTavious Thompson, Cassidy Bryanne Thorpe, Kevin Cesar Torres Flores, Bradford Thomas Tucker, Kelsey Lynne Turner, Madison Leigh Turner, Morgan Paige Turner, Nastahjia Amai Ulasi

Cecilia Virgen, Devin Davante Otis Waldon, John-Joseph Michael Christopher Walker, Marianna Elizabeth Walker, Jequawn Lamont Wall, Kevin Eugene Wall Jr., Timothy Levi Warriax, David Watkins III, Ikeyla Sheenek Watkins, Timothy Watkins Jr., Richard Alan Watts Jr., Ashton Noel Webb, Carl White III, Danielle Lynn White, James Nicholas White, Payton Nicole Whitley, Breanna Paige Whitt, Je Wilbun, Derek Michael Wilderman, Heath Thomas Wilkerson, Micaela Keren Wilkerson, Canaan Justic Willhoyt, Ashley Kay Williams, Donavan Juan Williams, Jesse Davon Williams, Kiyanna Elise Williams, Tyler Scott Williams, Erin Paige Willingham, Jamon Darquez Wilson, Nicholas NaQuan Wilson, Kelais Omarie Worley

Rondel Ethan-Wayne York, Tyler Jibril Devante’ York, Mariah Shawntrice Zinnerman, Nathaniel Jawuan Zinnerman III

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