Friends and family filled Lake Norman High School’s football stadium on Saturday morning to celebrate the bright futures of more than 500 members of the Class of 2024.

Principal Bill Shapcott welcomed the families and thanked them for supporting their students in achieving this milestone.

“It is your love and commitment to these amazing students that got them to this moment in time,” Shapcott said. “These students will make a difference in this world, and I thank each and every one of them, in advance, for that.”

Honor Speaker Scarlett Jerome said the educators at Lake Norman High School played a big role in helping the graduates succeed.

“Lake Norman High has the best teachers and staff,” she said. “Thank you for your commitment, encouragement and guidance through the last four years. Our class started our high school days with a pandemic with masks, social distancing and sleeping through Zoom classes. I think we showed that we are the most resilient class.”

Honor Speaker Carson Miller recalled the many “firsts and lasts” shared by students during their days at Lake Norman High School.

“We saw our first drop-off at school as freshmen, our first days driving ourselves to school, quickly realizing it would take an hour to get out of the parking lot every day after school,” he quipped. “And then we saw the first days of our last year, and our last home games, and our last days of class. These are days we will never forget.”

But most important to Miller was the realization that time doesn’t stand still for anyone. “Time is our most valuable asset. So please make sure that you spend your time on what truly matters,” Miller said.

During the ceremony, Shapcott celebrated the fact that the graduating class earned more than $11 million in scholarships, and he urged the students to use their future opportunities well.

“Please always remember who you are,” he advised the graduates. “Help make a more positive world. Look for what you agree on — use that to help you understand more about the world around you.”

Before the awarding of the diplomas, white flowers were placed on a blue chair in memory of classmates and family members who were lost during the last year.

“We do this as a reminder of those who cannot be with us today,” Miller explained. “They may be gone but will never be forgotten.”