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GSF, LHS grads talk of shared experiences, perseverance

Valedictorian and Heart of the Trojan award winner flanked by her parents, Matt Parsons and GSF Principal Dr. Andrea Pridgen, above. Salutatorian Grant Stuart Blevins speaks during the program, left. (School Bell photos)


     Shared experiences were common themes for 2021 commencement exercises at Green Sea Floyds High School Tuesday evening and at Loris High Wednesday morning.


     “Perseverance” was the theme at Green Sea Floyds High, a theme echoed by Principal Dr. Andrea Pridgen, her daughter and Valedictorian Bailey Alexandrea Parsons, and Salutatorian Grant Stuart Blevins.

     Parsons, in addition to graduating with the highest academic grade point average, received the 10th annual Heart of the Trojan Award.

Trojan seniors make graduation night memories. (Jenn Causey, TLT)

     Nick Harris, presenting the award, told the audience Heart of the Trojan is for a graduate “who knows how precious life is.”

     Faculty members select a senior each year for the honor.

     Both Parsons and Blevins, in their addresses to graduates, reflected on the impact of the COVID-19 on their senior year.

     “These are the strangest most uncertain times because we’ve missed competitions, prom, games and events,” Blevins said. “It’s not a long race, it is many short races.”

Loris High Salutatorian Raegan Soles with Valedictorian Nathan Todd. (Jenn Causey, TLT)


     A rare winter tornado during their junior year and a pandemic the also shaped their senior season was a common theme from commencement speakers at Loris High School Wednesday morning.

     “We felt excitement, curiosity and fear when we first entered Loris High School,” Salutatorian Raegan Soles said during the morning program at Heniford Field. “Our junior year, we experienced a tornado over a 12 minute timespan then facemasks became part of our daily attire.”

     That Jan. 13, 2020 EF1 tornado damaged 72 vehicles but injured no one, appearing just minutes before many of those students were set to head for the parking lot.

     Still, Soles encouraged her classmates to look forward.

     “Take time to thank and remember each-other,” Soles said. “This is only the beginning. Don’t look back.”

     Valedictorian Nathan Todd spoke of the events that came just a couple of months later and shaped far more lies.

     “We faced a pandemic that changed each of our lives,” Todd said. “We will remember all of the amazing experiences. I look out and see future soldiers, doctors, nurses, engineers and other professions.”

More to the stories

     For more on commencement at GSF, see the June 16 Tabor-Loris Tribune, with additional on Loris High’s graduation in the June 23 edition, both in print and online.

A graduation crowd at Loris High School (Jenn Causey, TLT)