Make your own path, graduates challenged

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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You’ve always got a choice in life. That was part of the message delivered by Lunenburg County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Stanislas at Central High’s graduation. Speaking on Saturday, May 25, Stanislas pointed out that this group of graduates has had anything but the “ordinary” experience when it comes to school.

“You have navigated some unprecedented times in education,” Stanislas said. “To say that your transition to high school was not normal is an understatement. You faced challenges and uncertainties that no one could have anticipated.”

This, after all, was the group who entered during the beginning of COVID-19, having to adjust to online classes, canceled activities and changing rules over wearing masks. Their return to class was just as hectic, with shifting times, altered athletic schedules and a number of other adjustments. And yet, as Stanislas pointed out, this group made it through.

“Together you are here, standing tall and ready to face the future,” she said. “Thank you, Class of 2024, for your contribution to the Charger legacy.”

And now, she pointed out, the graduates face the biggest test of all. Now they’re moving into adulthood, where there’s always choices to make. She referenced the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, comparing that to adulthood and all its challenges. There will be times you have to pick which road to choose, Stanislas told graduates. And now, it won’t be parents or grandparents making those decisions. But the new superintendent, who is wrapping up her first year in the job, told graduates she had confidence they could make the right choices.

“You are equipped with the fortitude to overcome future challenges,” Stanislas said, adding that doesn’t mean they’ll succeed every time. “Know that you will experience some disappointing moments as well.”

It’s not a case of being determined to never fail, Stanislas said. Instead, it’s what happens afterward that shows you’ve grown and developed into an adult. She quoted Nelson Mandela, who said “the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”


This year’s Salutatorian was Maria Ruby Lara- Juarez, who plans to attend Southside Virginia Community College as a nursing student. The daughter of Jose Lara and Manuela Juarez of Kenbridge, her ultimate goal is to be a nurse practitioner. Delivering her remarks in both Spanish and English, Lara-Juarez reminded her fellow graduates that their next steps, their next achievements aren’t going to just be handed over.

“Success is something that is not handed to you,” Lara-Juarez said. “It is earned.”

This year’s Valedictorian was Ruth Lowe Argro. The daughter of Derrick and Felicite Argro of Kenbridge, Ruth plans to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall, majoring in Biology/Pre-Med.

Overall, graduates were also encouraged to focus on their dreams, on what they want, rather than the wishes of others. It goes back to Frost’s poem and the choices we make. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by,” Frost wrote. “And that has made all the difference.”