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2023 Winter Commencement Ceremony

The Rock Hill Schools' winter graduates celebrated all their accomplishments and looked back on good memories during their graduation commencement ceremony on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Family and friends filled the auditorium of South Pointe High School to support their loved ones as they received their hard-earned diplomas. South Pointe High School, Northwestern High School, and Rock Hill High School each held their own ceremony, graduating 100 students in total.

Between the three high schools, thirty graduates earned the South Carolina Seal of Distinction and seven earned Highest Honors or Honors. South Pointe High School had seven students who are in the National Technical Honor Society and Northwestern High School graduate, Johnathon Burkhart, earned 12 or more dual credit hours.

Approximately 50 percent of the winter graduates are college-bound after graduation. Congratulations to Northwestern graduate, Jordan Knox, who received a full-ride football scholarship to Northwestern University, and South Pointe graduate, Derrick Barksdale II, who signed a football scholarship with James Madison University and has enrolled for the spring semester.

Commencement speaker Tori Gurley, owner of Home Field Advantage LLC, former NFL Veteran, and analyst for Fox Sports' "The Odd Couple” addressed the students via pre-taped video to offer words of encouragement and advice as they head into the next chapter of their lives. As a Rock Hill Schools alumnus himself, Tori attended Rock Hill High School where he led the Bearcats to the state championship in football and basketball during his senior year.

"Graduates, look at yourselves as a brand-new business. Most likely you are starting with zero, and it’s okay because over time you will learn how to operate and make things happen," said Gurley.

"It is unbelievable the trajectory of success you will be on if you mastered these small deeds that open major doors. These small lessons will give you strength and wisdom to lead yourself to higher heights," added Gurley.

Dr. John Jones, Deputy Superintendent, also addressed the students. “You will always have the support of Rock Hill Schools behind you," he said.

Rock Hill Schools wishes the best to all 2023 winter graduates now and in their future.

Watch Gurley's full commencement speech here.