Graduation ceremony signals closing of Parrish High School
by Ron Harris
May 25, 2014 | 2414 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PARRISH — Tears were abundant as the 38 members of the Class of 2014 at Parrish High School were awarded diplomas Friday night during the 89th commencement ceremony held at Harland-Nelson Stadium.

The event marked the closing of Parrish High School, which was among three schools shuttered by the Walker County Board of Education earlier this year. Also closed by the board were Sipsey and T.S. Boyd elementary schools.

“It’s really kind of bittersweet,” said Jody Claborn, the principal at Parrish High School. “It’s really nice to see the product that this school and community has put out. It’s exciting to see these kids grow and think about what they’re going to do with their lives, but, at the same time, it’s a sad occasion to think that the fine young men and women who have come through this school and this community ... these are the last ones.”

Claborn said while graduation is a time to celebrate the achievements of the seniors, Friday’s ceremony at Parrish was overshadowed by the sadness caused by the school’s closing. “I think this overshadows the seniors as a group and as individuals,” Claborn said. “On their own, they are amazing people. I’ve really got to know these kids and they are amazing kids.

“It’s really sad,” he added.

Josiah Robinson, the vice president of the senior class, said the mood around school the last few weeks has been somber because of the impending closure of the school.

“It’s really hard to describe,” Robinson said. “There’s definitely a rush of emotion. We’re feeling a little bit of everything. We’re excited to go out and start our own lives and to be independent, but at the same time, not only are we saying goodbye to our high school, everybody is saying goodbye to this high school.

“Bittersweet is definitely the way to describe it,” added Robinson, who will attend the University of Alabama-Birmingham will plans to become a forensic psychologist.

“In the midst of all the excitement of us graduating, the mood changes depending on who you talk to and when you talk to them,” Robinson said. “Some are excited to be going out on their own, some are sad and some are emotional.”

Robinson said the underclassmen at Parrish who will be transferring to other schools will face an adjustment period, but in the end they will be welcomed by their new schools.

“The other schools have been been great about receiving the Parrish students,” he said.

Before taking the field Friday, seniors who had gathered in the school’s library spent a few minutes singing the Parrish High School alma mater.

The Parrish High

Alma Mater

On a big and rolling campus

Steeped against the sky,

Stands our dear old alma mater

As the years go by.

Parrish, Parrish, dear old Parrish

How we all love thee,

Hail to thee our alma mater

True to thee we’ll be.

And within the years that follow

Memories we’ll recall,

Memories of our dear old high school

Will be first of all.

Parrish, Parrish, dear old Parrish

How we all love thee,

Hail to thee our alma mater

True to thee we’ll be.