Story and photos by Stefanie Jackson –
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago, Tangier Combined School returned to tradition with its 2022 graduation ceremony held in the Swain Memorial United Methodist Church. Because Tangier’s graduating class is always so small, each graduate may have the opportunity to speak. The students’ remarks are unlike typical commencement addresses and usually include a few words of inspiration to their classmates, maybe an anecdote or two about their school days, and thanking parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and other family and friends for their support through the years, telling them, “I love you.” Laughter and tears fill the church sanctuary as each graduate shares his or her personal story. This year, special words of thanks and love were reserved for Principal Sharon Haynie, who is retiring after decades in education.
In another tradition dating back to 1985, established by Pamela Eskridge, a slideshow about the graduates was shown, including baby photos, class photos, and senior photos, while the song “Goodnight Kiss” by Steve and Annie Chapman was played.
The TCS Class of 2022 is valedictorian Samuel Parks, salutatorian Kevin Thomas, Jacob Crockett, Benjamin Eskridge, Bridgette Riley Mariano, Collin Parks, Richard “R.J.” Parks Jr., and Michael Trent Pruitt.