By Lauren Cabral
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE — When Marty Smith addressed the 27 Crossroads High School students seated at Lea Ledger Auditorium Thursday, eager to receive their diplomas, she had a simple message.
“Whatever you want from life, you go for it,” said the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce president and guest speaker for the ceremony. “You’ll be a better person for it.”
The newest batch of Crossroads graduates were awarded not only diplomas at Thursday night’s ceremonies, but gold dollar coins as well from Rose Cameron, Copperas Cove Independent School District superintendent, and her husband, Kevin.
“Keep this as a reminder of today, and also let it be a symbol to push you forward,” Cameron told the graduates. “Learn all that you can, be the best that you can be and leave here ready to make a difference in the world.
“I’m depending on you. Everyone in this room is depending on you.”
There was plenty of applause and cheering for each student who crossed the stage, and many expressed gratitude and pride for having made it to the milestone of high school graduation.
“It’s surreal,” said William Casey Griffeth. After transferring from Copperas Cove High School, where he said he was behind, he spent only six months at Crossroads before graduating.
“It happened faster than I was expecting,” he said.
Griffeth plans to join the Navy, in which his sister already serves.
“I’m looking forward to starting my military career,” he said.
Fellow graduate Natalie Gibson said she was also looking forward to the future. Gibson was accepted to Central Texas College’s nursing program, and said her main motivation is her 6-month-old son.
“Having a baby made me want to do it even more,” she said. Gibson also had advice for underclassmen.
“Go for it, don’t stop,” she said.
Melissa Saxton, who graduated on the recommended plan, transferred to Crossroads for her last year of high school so she could graduate in three years instead of four.
“When I was little, that’s what I wanted,” she said, adding her plan never changed. “I reached my goal.”
Saxton will now go to Brookhaven College in Dallas to study radiology, and plans to become an X-ray technician. Her mother, Roseann Saxton, said she couldn’t be happier.
“I think that it’s a great plan. She’s just got to stay strong and stay focused and know that she can always do it,” she said. “I’m super proud of her.”