FLORENCE, S.C. – West Florence High School awarded 388 high school diplomas during its graduation ceremony Thursday evening at the Florence Center.
The Class of 2019 collectively earned $7,164,520 in scholarships. Twenty-four students received the Palmetto Fellows scholarship and 272 students received the Life scholarship. There were 109 Board of Trustees Scholars, which is the highest academic achievement for seniors in Florence One Schools.
Rachel King was named salutatorian and Reagan Dunnam was named the valedictorian.
During the valedictory speech, Dunnam remembered Hannah Skipper, a member of the Class of 2019 who died in September 2018.
“Even though she is not with us today, she will always be a Knight, and her optimistic nature and bubbly personality will be carried with the Class of 2019 wherever we go,” Dunnam said.
Dunnam reflected on questions the Class of 2019 has asked or been asked, such as “Where will we go from here?” Dunnam encouraged her classmates to be themselves and reminded them to work hard and enjoy their lives.
Dunnam will attend North Carolina State University and major in fashion and textile management with a concentration in brand management and marketing.
King, during her salutatorian speech, challenged her classmates to choose joy throughout their lives.
“We were made for the climb, the obstacles and the challenges that mold us and grow us as individuals,” King said. “Take the bad with a grain of salt and soak in all the good life has given us. Whether you are continuing your education at a university, joining the armed forces or starting your career, have joy in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.”
King will attend Clemson University and study nursing.
Carlson Gilman, the senior class president, led the turning of the tassel. Family members and friends cheered as students exited the Florence Center during the recessional.