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Meet Sarah Coombs-West Craven High Valedictorian

West Craven High Proudly Announces Sarah Coombs, Valedictorian


Each year, Craven County Schools features the closing remarks from the valedictorian and salutatorian from our traditional high schools.  This year West Craven High School is proud to introduce Sarah Coombs as the valedictorian for the class of 2023. Miss Coombs had an opportunity to deliver her speech during the graduation commencement held on June 9, 2023, at West Craven High School. Students, families, and special guests were elated to have the chance to celebrate the Class of 2023Coombs outside, on a very beautiful, crisp morning. As each graduate walked across the stage to receive their diploma, you could hear the joy and happiness expressed by all in attendance. Please enjoy Sarah Coombs’s speech as we celebrate the Class of 2023 and all their achievements this year.


Good morning and congratulations West Craven’s Class of 2023. Today is the first day of the rest of your lives. As the school year comes to a close, I would like to thank all of the faculty and staff who have dedicated their time and patience to help us be the most successful versions of ourselves. I would also like to thank our families, friends, and mentors for their guidance and support. I know I would not be here today without my family. I would like to take a moment to thank God and everything He does, my mom and dad who have worked tirelessly to provide for me and my siblings, my grandparents who spoil me endlessly, and my brothers and sisters who have always helped me when I needed them. I love you all.


After today, we are all going to begin a new journey, whether that is going to college, the military, the workforce, or even if we are still undecided. We are turning the page to an exciting new chapter. The future lies in our hands.


Throughout our lives, we have all learned valuable lessons, and today I would like to share with you a lesson that is pertinent to our future. We may not know what tomorrow will bring but instead of being afraid, we should take charge. “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.” This line was written by William Shakespeare in his play, “Julius Caesar.” He is saying that we are responsible for our actions. It is not up to fate to decide how we live; every decision we make is our own. We must take charge! It is not up to anyone else. Dr. Seuss in his riddle-style phrase says, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” We can make our own path! The future is ours. We should go where we are called and do what we want to do. Sitting here today proves that we are more than capable.


For many years I have played softball, and nothing has touched me more than my dad's softball analogy. When you are at the plate and you have two strikes on you, you better swing at anything close. During one at-bat, I came back to the dugout after striking out by not swinging at a close pitch. My dad asked why I did not swing, and I told him it was not a strike. The umpire was crazy. Dad then said you did not give yourself a chance. You cannot let it fall into the umpire's hands. After a while I realized that Dad was not talking about softball, he was talking about life. You cannot let your life be determined by someone else. Give yourself a chance, and even if you “strike out,” just know that you tried and ended it on your own terms.


As you walk across the stage today, I hope that you are ready to embrace the future for whatever may come your way. I wish you the best and want you to continue working hard. Growing up with you all has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I would like to end with one last quote, and it is true for every single one of you, “God can bring peace to your past, purpose to your present, and hope to your future” John 14:27. 

Thank you.