Before she made her walk through the wings of the Bob Carpenter Center, out onto the open floor of the arena and up to the chairs situated before the stage for Christiana High School’s graduation Thursday, Cierra Brown said she was a bit nervous.

When she stood before her peers to address them as their class president, though, she reminded them to hold their heads high and not to let their hat fall.

“Let us look into the future and make our dreams a reality,” she told them. “School has not been easy, but we make it look like it was.”

Before the ceremony, she noted that the last four years were full of challenges.

“But it’s worth it at the end,” she said.

During her high school career, Brown saw success in volleyball, basketball and track. In the fall, she’ll attend Delaware State University for sports management. She is looking forward meeting new friends and expanding her horizons, she said.

Brown was among approximately 175 students who graduated from Christiana High School on Thursday, concluding a week full of graduations for students in the Christina School District. In all, the district saw nearly 700 students accept their diplomas and close the chapter on their high school experience.

“I have so much admiration for this class,” Principal Sam Postlethwait told the students before they received their diplomas. “I'm so excited for what the future holds for each of you. Your life will be full of so much good, but it is difficult times that make a man or woman who they are. I encourage each of you to use those challenges to create champions. I have no doubt that your resilience will lead you to great things.”

As they began that path to the future, Daz'sha Brown was feeling good, while Kawthar Aldahwah was also feeling a bit impatient.

“It seems like yesterday we were freshman,” Aldahwah said.

“Time went really fast,” Daz'sha Brown agreed.

Like many of their peers, the girls were excited for their next stop after high school officially ended. Aldahwah will attend Delaware Technical Community College, and Daz'sha Brown will head to Morgan State University. Both will study nursing.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the real world and not being sheltered,” Aldahwah noted.

Mohamed Ibrahim, who is heading to the University of Delaware next year, expressed similar sentiments.

“I feel great. I finally made it,” he said. “It feels good because all of the ups and downs, countless hours of studying, knowing it’s worth it.”

“It was fun,” Chinelo Kinsale added.

Valedictorian Francia Olliver noted that regardless of whether her peers were attending post-secondary schooling or heading straight into the workforce, “the important thing here is that we take what we have learned and apply it effectively to our lives,” she said.

“I know that moving on from high school is a big step,” she continued. “But don’t let it intimidate you. As long as you keep the determined mindset you have now, nothing can stand in the way of you achieving your goals.”

That’s what Postlethwait hoped for his graduating class, too.

“The future holds so many possibilities for each of you. Pursue them with all of your hearts,” he said. “And remember: always, always, always get back up – no matter how many times you get knocked down or how hard you get knocked down.”

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