Cherokee Trail graduation: ‘What challenges are you willing to endure?’ (PHOTOS)

Graduates reflect on finding meaning, voices


Bradford Heap remembers being a “nervous, awkward eighth-grader,” terrified to enter high school, he told the crowd.

He recalled other students laughing at his name when it came up in class years ago. But eventually, he grew to like the uniqueness of being Bradford.

At some point, high-schoolers have all been that scared kid, Heap said. But fighting to overcome life’s obstacles is worth it, he told fellow students at Cherokee Trail High School’s June 8 commencement ceremony.

“The things that resonate the most (are) the people you meet, memories you make and the decisions” that make you who you are, Heap said.

Heap lamented that the coronavirus pandemic occupied students’ lives for so long, and he chose to focus on a positive: the different paths forward that students are taking after graduation.

“Always ask yourself: What challenges are you willing to endure for success?” Heap said.

Later in the event, two students performed “Read All About It” by Emeli Sandé, a song that included the lyrics: “You’ve got the words to change a nation, but you’re biting your tongue — you’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence, afraid you’ll say something wrong.” The song implores people not to be afraid to find their voice.

The song continues: “It’s about time we got some airplay of our version of events.”


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