HARTSVILLE, S.C. – With pomp and circumstance, the Class of 2016 of Hartsville High School entered the Hartsville High School Arena on Friday night. Before family, friends, teachers and staff, 267 members of the senior class were awarded diplomas.

Principal Charles E. Burry Jr. welcomed those who had been on the 12-year journey with the students and who came to share in this special night.

He told them that each day at the beginning of school the students are given a character education quote.

He said he had one last thought for the graduating class.

As he has done the past couple of years, Burry started his remarks with a story. This one he titled “If I could Have Just Seen the Shore.” He said swimmer Frances Chadwick attempted in 1952 to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. He said she swam for 15 hours, only to give up a half a mile from her goal.

Afterward, Burry said, she told reporters that all she could see was fog, but if she could have seen the shore, she thought she would have made it.

At the end of his story, Burry told the graduates they were about to reach a shoreline of their own as they received their diplomas.

He said if they leave high school with set goals for the future, they will have sight of another shoreline.

But first, he said, when the shoreline is not visible, and all they see is fog in their lives, whether from financial difficulties, mistakes or broken relationship, they must have faith.

He said don’t be like the swimmer who didn’t run out of stamina but who ran out of faith and didn’t reach her goal on the first try.

He said to the Class of 2016, “I wish you Godspeed … and blue skies … and when it is foggy and you can’t see the shore, have faith.”

He told them not to get to the end of their journey only to say “if I could have just seen the shore.”

Senior Timothy Justin Nuckols told his classmates in his farewell address that he learned to be part of the team, to face challenges, and persevere with dedication and teamwork.

He told them as they venture into the world to never give up. He said life is going to be a challenge but to face their fears while relying on others.


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