BELTON — Draped in blue and gold and with eyes full of promise, the 462 graduates of Copperas Cove High School filed into the Bell County Expo Center on Friday night to close one academic chapter in their lives.
Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, addressed the class of 2014 via simulcast.
The graduation ceremony was broadcast to at least 10 sites in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Korea and Egypt.
“Your mission is not over,” he said. “Be a leader, always strive for better and continue to climb that mountain.”
About 20 students from the seven area high schools are participating in the GradCast this year, four of them from Cove.
The GradCast is coordinated through a partnership among the Killeen Independent School District KISD-TV, Fort Hood and the Bell County Expo Center.
Senior class president and class salutatorian David Spicer approached the podium with his speech and as he opened it, the scroll stretched from his hands to the floor.
“This would be the speech I would read if I wanted you to hate me,” he said, laughing.
In a rousing speech to his peers, he made reference to several Disney movies and encouraged his classmates to “reach for the sky,” like Buzz Lightyear and to be the Russell’s of the world, collecting wilderness explorer badges as they explore the world before them.
When Joshua Holt approached the crowd, he said he never thought he would be standing before them as valedictorian.
“The road doesn’t end here unless we want it to,” he said. “Graduation is the gateway to our future. Today we get our diplomas, tomorrow we embrace the world.”