Gifft Hill School graduates 6 Gifft Hill School Class of 2014

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ST. JOHN - The Gifft Hill School Class of 2014 eagerly took the stage during the school's 12th commencement ceremony at Trayser Field on Friday evening.

With six graduates, what the student body lacked in size, they more than made up for in spirit.

Emotions were running high with excitement moments before graduation.

"It's a big step forward," said Naphtali Anthony, the only boy in the graduating class. "It's almost surreal. This transition has affected me a lot. Thinking of the places I could go and things I could do, it seems more reachable now, more realistic."

Naphtali's plans take him to Boston to work with his grandfather's company before deciding on college.

Lexus Wesley, whose future plans include "dominating the world" with her photography skills, will attend the Art Institute of Tennessee -Nashville, which awarded her a $40,000 scholarship.

"I'm so excited," she said. "I'm hoping I will get into the routine and that everything will fall into place doing something that I love to do."

Although each graduate looks forward to taking life's next big step, it is with a hint of regret that they leave, and it is the Gifft Hill family itself that will be missed the most, the students said.

"I will miss the feeling you get entering the doors at the beginning of the year and seeing the bright, happy faces of the GHS family," said Jah'Sheada Griffith.

She will be studying nutrition and dietetics at UVI in the fall.

Nicole Cirigliano, who will attend Colorado Mountain College to work toward a degree in sustainability, is grateful for her experience at Gifft Hill School, to which she transferred in her senior year.

"I've made some amazing friends and had some extremely memorable moments in my short time here. I'll miss all of you guys when I'm gone," she said.

The graduates drew from personal life experiences to give advice to upcoming classes.

"Do not slack off - finish strong," advised Viniqua David, who will study criminal justice at Iowa State University. "I've learned that one person can make a change and that no matter how rough it gets, you should never give up."

Because of the small size of the class, rather than choosing a valedictorian or salutatorian, each graduate was asked to offer their personal reflections and share words of warmth about their fellow classmates during the ceremony.

In her speech, Jo-Anne Attika pointed out traits that make her individual classmates special to her.

"In my graduating class, I see potential through this gentleman, Naphtali Anthony. I see dedication through this lady, Jah'Sheada Griffith. I see a glow through this lady, Viniqua David. I see a kindness through this lady, Lexus Wesley. I see leadership through this lady, Nicole Cirigliano. I see love, change and happiness within my own heart. I now understand what the teachers tried to teach us about school and life," she said.Number of students graduating: 6

Number of graduates going to college: 6

Colleges attending: The Art Institute of Tennessee - Nashville; Bunker Hill; Colorado Mountain College; Iowa State University; University of the Virgin Islands.

Scholarships awarded: $43,000.

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