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Published on July 4th, 2018 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


The Dash

Pictured Ridge View High School Principal Dr. Brenda Mack-Foxworth

On their special day, 295 audacious and destined for greatness members of the Ridge View High School graduating Class of 2018 qualified to receive their South Carolina diplomas at Colonial Life Arena. Monday, June 4, 2018, marked the completion of their high school careers; saying good-bye to what was and hello to their future. My heart bubbles with excitement thinking about what they will go on to achieve. I shared a poem written by Linda Ellis during my commencement address. It’s called “The Dash” and illustrates how the beginning and ending of a person’s life is not what’s most important. What is most important is the dash, time spent in between. “The Dash” reads,

“I read of a man who stood to speak at a funeral of a friend. 
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
but said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time they spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own, the cars…the house…the cash. 
What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change? 
For you never know how much time is left that still can be rearranged.

To be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and
love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?”

Ridge View graduates turned their tassels with that in mind but not before having achieved some significant milestones during their high school years. This accomplished class of seniors blazed all sorts of trails. They won state championships in Boys’ Basketball and Girls’ Track and Field while Tyler Mitchel collected an individual State Championship medal for the 200-meter dash. Eleven student-athletes are going on to play at the next level at institutions of higher learning.

These graduates were accepted to prestigious colleges and universities across the country, including Claflin, Clemson, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Midlands Technical College, New York, Rice, Tuskegee, and the University of Southern California. Valedictorian and U.S. Presidential Scholar semifinalist, Malika Lightbourne will attend the University of South Carolina Honors College. Sixteen brave public servants have enlisted to protect and defend our freedoms in the United States Armed Forces.

This class is the first to have a cohort of students graduate from the Carolina Alliance Technology smaller learning community at Ridge View that focuses on career pathways, engineering and computer science.

This generosity of this class will never cease to amaze me. Together they collected and donated 10,000 cans of food to God’s Storehouse, $2,000 for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, $1,700 for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation; 500 toiletries for Sister Care, and broke a school record raising more than $6,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

As we prepared to part ways, I encouraged them to reflect on their achievements, remember time is limited, every moment is precious and the importance of fulfilling their passion and purpose. They left the arena knowing some days along the way might be difficult, and even if they get lost, it does not mean they have to stay lost. Reaching down deep inside and pushing forward will get the victory and the glory, and their dash will have meant something. Their dash would have made the world better than they found it.

Each graduate received a bookmark memento with the poem, “The Dash.” I hope they carry it with them, always.




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