Wildwood Grad
Valedictorian Kirby Thornton prepares for Wildwood High School's graduation, which was held at the high school on Wednesday.

WILDWOOD — The 63 members of Wildwood High School’s 2011 graduating class shared their wishes for each other as they came together Wednesday night, to sing the class song.

Led by graduates Krystina Tozer and Sarah Peterson, they sang their rendition of “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.

 “My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to./Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small./You never need to carry more than you can hold.”

The sentiment was echoed by the valedictorian and salutatorian, each of whom offered words of encouragement for students as they leave the comfort of Wildwood High School.

Salutatorian Zachary Madle told his classmates simply, “Do what makes you happy. Don’t let yourself be miserable in any aspect of your life.”

Madle told his fellow graduates that their futures are largely up to them and they should pursue their goals.

“Only you know what makes you happy, so don’t rely on other people to make the major decisions in your life. Life’s short,” Madle said.

Madle also reminded them that while not everyone they encounter will like them or be their friend that should not be a deterrent to living life.

“That doesn’t mean you’re inferior to anyone else. Don’t let anyone tell you differently,” he said.

Valedictorian Kirby Thornton, who greeted her classmates and audience members in both English and Spanish, noted that her presence on stage Wednesday was part of a family tradition. Her grandmother, who was also valedictorian, graduated in 1961 and her mother graduated the school in 1982.

Thornton quoted the likes of George Carlin and Oprah Winfrey as she urged her classmates to find their purpose in life.

But Thornton also focused on the bond she and her classmates share because of their time spent in Wildwood.

“Throughout our time at Wildwood High School, we have been the underdog. We know how it feels to have athletic teams that are challenged and a negative — however, false — reputation, but through it all our community has endlessly supported us. 

“In life, you’re going to come across people who are the underdog. They are faced with a burden and somehow must overcome it. I challenge each of you to find it in yourself to come to that person’s aid. Even if there is nothing you can physically do, be there for them emotionally. This is a lesson that I hope you carry with you throughout your life. 

“Our community, teachers and coaches have championed our causes and we must find the compassion and empathy to champion those who need us in the future,” Thornton said.

“Buena suerte y que Dios los bendiga,” Thornton said. “Good luck and God bless.”

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:

609-463-6716

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