Lafayette High graduates 184 students

Published 6:00 am Sunday, May 22, 2016

Salutatorian Taylor Bost told an audience of parents, friends, teachers, supporters and Lafayette High School graduates Friday night that they should never stop improving.

“I encourage all of you to challenge yourselves to be extraordinary and not mediocre,” she said.

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Lafayette High School commencement ceremonies were held Friday night inside C. M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum at the University of Mississippi.

“We all have achieved a great feat making it through 13 years of jubilation, adversity and enlightenment,” Bost said. “We have not reached this point in our lives by ourselves, but with the help of teachers, family and friends who have supported us. Without their encouragement and guidance, we would not be here today.”

While the 184 graduates are saying goodbye to each other, Bost said they are also welcoming new experiences.

“We will soon be filled with the joy of having new classmates, making new friends and having new opportunities,” she said. “Some of us will go to school hundreds of miles away, and some of us will stay in Oxford the next few years.

“Some of us know exactly what we want to do with our lives, and that’s great. Some of us have no idea what we want to do, and that’s OK too.”

Valedictorian Samuel Meals injected humor into his graduation speech.

“I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible knowing that most of this will be either ignored because it’s some nerd talking about high school and new beginnings or forgotten as most graduation speeches are,” he said. “With that being said, it’s been an honor growing up with such kind and admirable students.”

Meals said he regrets that this is the end of one journey, but they will soon embark on a new one.

“From our ABC’s to English literature, and from one-plus-one-equals-two to calculus, we have come quite a ways,” he said.

Meals also thanked parents.

“I’d also like to thank our parents for feeding us, doing our laundry, housing us and loving us,” he said.

In closing, he thanked the Class of 2016.

“Go do something, anything,” he said. “Continue to be interesting people. Get a job. Pay taxes. Avoid dark alleys. Don’t go to prison. And finally, be safe driving home.”

Graduate Patrick Bratt, 18, was elated Friday night.

“It’s kind of chilling,” he said. “I’m going to wake up tomorrow, and I won’t be going back to school Monday.”

Bratt said he plans to attend Northwest Community College in Senatobia for two years to earn his business degree. Then, he’ll attend the University of Mississippi and and work on his master’s in business and music.

Graduate Matt Waller, 18, said he felt a lot of different emotions.

“I’m really glad I made it,” he said. “I’m really proud of all of our senior class and everybody that helped us along the way, all of our teachers, my parents. We’ve come a long way, and it’s really been a hard road.”

Waller, who played football for Lafayette High School, said he’ll be attending Delta State University in in the fall, where he’ll major in criminal justice.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is

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