BALTIMORE -- At the beginning of the school year,
Tiffany Lawless made a promise that if she became
senior valedictorian, she'd place cookies and other
goodies under the seats of her fellow classmates'
chairs at graduation.
While she fulfilled that promise Sunday, cookies
weren't the only gifts the Liberty Union High School
senior ended up bestowing on the members of her
graduating class -- she also gave them some parting
words of wisdom.
"Live for yourself --I don't mean to become
selfish and stop caring for others," Lawless said.
"I simply mean to make your own decisions; up until
this point in our lives, many of our decisions have
been made for us, whether that be by our teachers,
coaches or good old Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe."
"But now the time to start thinking for ourselves
Lawless was one of nine valedictorians to come
out of Liberty Union High School's 2011 senior class
and one of two to give a speech during Sunday's
Valedictorian Helen Cothrel encouraged her
classmates to use their experiences from the past
four years to move forward in life while
Salutatorian Tricia Steffen thanked family members
and friends for their encouragement throughout the
"Our class has suffered great losses and
celebrated great victories ... we have set records
and have endured defeat ... while others have been
waiting for life to begin, we've been living it,"
Cothrel said. "Having finished our first journey, we
begin the next without hesitation; with knowledge in
our minds and kindness in our hearts, we will go
Liberty Union was the last high school in
Fairfield County to celebrate commencement this
year. Students started the 2010-11 school year later
then usual as a result of workers completing
renovations at the high school.
Liberty Union High School Principal Ed Miller
said the class earned $227,000 in scholarships for
just their freshman year and an excess of $770,000
for all four years of college.
"I would like to thank the senior class -- it's
been a pleasure to be associated with you...it's
been very memorable," he said. "This is an excellent
group of young adults."
Liberty-Union Thurston Superintendent Paul
"This class has really earned an amazing amount
of scholarships and truly remarkable achievements,
not only academically, but in the very wide range of
activities we represent," he said. "But they're also
very caring -- they care about each other, they
support each other...in fact, they've really
demonstrated that they have a foundation of
character and that's ultimately made them as
successful as they have been."