Vicksburg High School graduates Class of 2022

Published 5:35 pm Friday, May 27, 2022

Vicksburg High School held a graduation ceremony for the class of 2022 on Thursday.

Friends and family gathered at the Vicksburg Convention Center to witness 171 seniors receive their diplomas. Student body president Trinitee Odom welcomed friends, family and school faculty to the ceremony.

“For the past four years, this student body has shared some of the greatest memories of our lives,” Odom said. “We are eccentric individuals, yet we each share a common bond. To the class of 2022, I am excited and filled with anticipation as we prepare for the next chapter of our lives to unfold.”

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Executive Principal Dr. Tameka D. Hyland addressed the audience near the beginning of the ceremony.

“I proudly serve my alma mater as executive principal of Vicksburg High School. We are here today to celebrate the class of 2022,” Hyland said. “Amazing things happen when educators take the leap of faith and do whatever it takes to make their schools and organizations better.”

Hyland mentioned statistics that highlighted the increased graduation rates in recent years.

“We have increased the graduation rate to the highest it has ever been to 91 percent when it has been as low as 55 percent,” she said.

“To all of my students, I am extremely proud of you. You have walked these halls with excellence and with purpose. And it shows daily in your educational endeavors,” Hyland added. “Class of 2022, remember: that you are Vicksburg High School, and you are the legacy of excellence.”

The keynote speaker was former VHS principal Kermit Harness. The harness was head of the school during Hyland’s and other faculty members’ tenure as students there.

Dressed in his Kelly green blazer, Harness addressed the graduating class.

“You are limited only by your imagination. If you believe it, you can achieve it,” Harness said. “Don’t let anybody turn you around. Keep your eyes on the prize. I want you to listen to this very carefully. Be the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.”

At Hyland’s request, Harness then led the packed auditorium audience in singing a rendition of “I’m so glad.”

Salutatorian Jannifer Katelin Banks then took to the podium to address her fellow students. Banks thanked God, family, friends and teachers for their support during her education.

She also shared some thoughts on motivation and success.

“Like Muhammad Ali Jinnah once said, ‘With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve,’” Banks said. “My freshman year, I had a plan. Each year I would write out my goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of the year. As I reflect on my progress throughout the school years, I am so proud of my accomplishments. Look at me now. I’m graduating salutatorian of my class.”

Valedictorian Marquasia Keionna Smith took her turn to speak to the class of 2022 before the presentation of diplomas.

“Although we didn’t get the full high school experience because of COVID, I would say we still had somewhat of an astounding four years,” Smith said.

Smith closed her speech with words of encouragement: “As we leave this convention center today, I want each and every one of you to remember that no one, and I repeat: no one can withhold the things that God has for you.”

The full VHS graduation ceremony can be watched at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/vicksburg-high-school-vicksburg-ms/evtef7073f169.