By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer
Be smart! Read often! Exercise your mind! And learn a skill so you can support your family and your future!
These were words of advice from retiring teacher JoBeth Massey to 14 Dora High School graduates on Sunday.
Marching in to the tune of “Against the Wind,” the graduates, all garbed in black, were the final high school class in Roosevelt County in 2008 to be conferred with high school diplomas.
Massey told the 2008 graduates, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” and warned them, “We all want to be financially secure, but that alone will not guarantee you happiness.”
Massey pointed out to students that attitude is the most important thing that have and is the one thing in life in which they have the most control.
“Life is about 10 percent what happens to you and about 90 percent how you react to it. I am convinced that either you control your attitude or it will control you.” Massey said.
Massey said she graduated from high school herself, almost 40 years to the date, and shared some of her life experiences with the Dora graduates and suggested that they listen to words of wisdom from their parents, family and loved ones.
“Your moms and dads are the ones who will never give up on you,” Massey said. “Every mom and dad has a built-in radar. It is called intuition.” She pointed out, however, that “You receive your family through default, but you choose your friends. Choose them carefully, as well as your future spouse.”
Massey also encouraged students to pursue a higher education, sharing with them her own struggles to complete a degree in teaching after dropping out of college, marrying and having three children. She said she returned and was able to complete her degree later, with the support of her husband and children.
Shortly before turning over her tassel, DHS senior Janine Nortje, said, “Graduating is exciting, but then I’m going to miss everybody!” Nortje has attended Dora schools since sixth grade and plans to major in wildlife management at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales.
Valedictorian Amelia Bilbrey attended Dora schools from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. “It’s kind of sad. I don’t want to leave high school and my classmates,” Bilbrey said. “We live so far out and it seems like we’re still so young.”
Later, during a brief valedictorian address, Bilbrey named and thanked each of her 13 classmates by name and said, “You have made me who I am and you are in my memories forever.”