Lexington-Richland School District Five’s 2021 graduates earned more than $217 million in scholarships this school year. The awards for students from Chapin High, Dutch Fork High, Irmo High and Spring Hill High schools include both academic and athletic scholarships. More than 1,200 School District Five students were graduated during ceremonies June 18 and 19.
The scholarship amount represents awards at four-year, two-year and technical colleges and universities in South Carolina and other states. Scholarships included academic scholarships such as the Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship, Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, athletic awards and scholarships for leadership and community service.
Graduates from Chapin High, Dutch Fork High, Irmo High and Spring Hill High participated in commencement ceremonies before crowds of hundreds. School District Five Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton spoke to graduates on the importance of the day and their impact as they start their next journey.
“This class has proven to be resilient. This class has proven to be trailblazers during a world-wide health crisis, while also writing a new chapter of School District Five’s history,” she said. “Educational researcher John Hattie’s quote “Know Thy Impact” has been used by our district for three years as our mantra. Every moment, each of us chooses whether to have a positive impact, a negative impact or a neutral impact. Class of 2021, Know Thy Impact.”
Ella MacLeod, Dutch Fork High Student Body President, spoke to the support and encouragement of the faculty and staff of Dutch Fork to continue instruction and shared the sentiment of leaning on one another during a pandemic.
“There have been days that have felt like life times, this has been a senior year like no other, there were days we felt like we couldn’t go on,” MacLeod said. “As I stand here today looking out at you all, I am reminded of the countless memories we have shared not only in this building, but across this campus and this district. I am filled with pride for all that we have accomplished. We have given each other reason to go on. And now, I implore you to take that spirit with you out into the world. We learned it here and they need it. Let’s go show them exactly how we go on.”
Graduation is also a time to look to the future.
“Now, moving hundreds of miles away might not be the case for all of us, but the reality is today marks a time where we all move forward. Where we all embark on a new journey into uncharted territory. While I have some fears about moving forward, I found a lot of comfort in knowing that I don’t have to move on,” Irmo High School graduate Paul Matheny said. “Moving forward in whatever meaning that takes on for you today, doesn’t mean that you have to move on and abandon the experiences of the past four years, or the friendships, or the knowledge or whatever is important to you. Today, as we celebrate moving forward, know that we don’t have to fully move on.”
School District Five principals and other graduation speakers also shared words of wisdom with graduates.
“You have continually showed me the good in the world, even when everything else seemed like it was falling apart around us,” Chapin High School principal, Michael Ames, said. “You are in a powerful position in which to take chances, pursue your passions and follow your dreams. The world is yours for the taking.”
Using a large mirror as a prop for his speech, Spring Hill High School principal, Dr. Michael Lofton, spoke on the importance of reflection and envisioning the future.
“So when I look into this mirror, what I see right now is, from my heart, the Spring Hill family and the love we have all created. I see courageous, brave, independent, strong leaders ready to move forward and reflect on your academic and life experiences to make this world a better place,” Lofton said.