Donning traditional orange and black caps and gowns, members of the Chester High School (CHS) Class of 2015 received a standing ovation Friday evening as they processed on to the Chester-Upland School District athletic field.

Following the playing of the national anthem, Class of 2015 President Ka’Lasha Towns presented welcoming remarks and was also one of four graduates who presented valedictory addresses.

The first in her family to attend college, Towns encouraged her classmates to have faith in themselves and strive for the best.

“Nothing is impossible,” Towns said. “There will be more opportunities than you can count.” 

Chester High School students cheer after the announcement is made that they are official graduates.

Chester High School students cheer after the announcement is made that they are official graduates.

Following remarks by Alexis Greaves, principal of the STEM Academy at Showalter, and a rousing poetry recital of “If We Must Die,” presented by Juwan Brice, keynote speaker, CHS 1991 graduate Tanisha Laverne Grant, reminded graduates of those who came before them- the slaves who toiled in the fields, civil rights leaders, and all the brave souls who forged the way.

“First of all, I thank you for bringing me home,” Grant said. “You are Clippers and as you prepare to set sail, understand the line is never straight. Clippers never go back; they go forward…. You owe a debt to your ancestors. Be honest and authentic in all your endeavors.”

Elected School Board President Anthony Johnson told the graduates that high school graduation is the first chapter in their lives.

“Take your high school experience and move on for the rest of your lives,” Johnson said. “Be the best at whatever career path you choose.”

Salutatorian Compassion Sharpe, who will study business at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the fall, told her classmates to never forget from where they came.

“I am really excited about my future and my advice is to always stay true to yourself. Never lose sight of your dreams,” she allowed.

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