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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-High School seniors across America are getting ready to start a new chapter in their lives. Valedictorians and Salutatorians are writing speeches and encouraging their classmates to pursue their dreams.

We caught up with some of the “Best of the Class” from years gone by. Here’s what they told her:

Graduation Day is a time for students to reflect on 12 years of hard work. Up until now, there lives have been heavily structured. After graduation, they are free to follow their passions and soar as high as their ambitions will take them.

“To go off to college and make the big money and just the dreams that kids at that age have of big fabulous life,” says Ashley Britt.

Ashley Britt, The Salutatorian from the class of 2001 at Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Mississippi was excited to pursue the dreams she made as a high school freshman.

“About the 9th grade I decided that I wanted to be an accountant and so it never really changed ever since then. My dad tried to change my mind to engineering, and it did not work at all,” says Britt.

A payroll accountant at Te-Lott and Company, Ashley says many things changed along the way, but the career she pursued as a high school graduate remained the same.

Back in 1976, Steve Rogers was the valedictorian of his class at Demopolis High School in Alabama. He had a love of journalism. Steve went on to own his own Newspaper and currently works as the Assistant News Director at WCBI. Through the years, Steve says the important things in life have become more clear.

“I think your focus changes. I don’t know if your goals change. I got side tracked along the way sometimes. Did some other things, but all of them were always media related. I think as you get older you learn about childhood dreams and ambitious and goal and things like that and refocus them. Family becomes more of a focus things outside of work become more of a focus,” says Steve Rogers.

In pursuit of their goals both Steve and Ashley say there are a few things soon-to-be graduates need to remember as they embark on the next leg of their journey.

“Be patient, you don’t know it all. Don’t be afraid to try, that’s the biggest thing. Don’t be afraid to try. There is a lot of adventure out there and when you hit 22 the world hasn’t ended, it’s just begun,” says Rogers.

“To always stay focussed on what’s real important in life. We tend to dream big and lose sight of the most important things and a lot of times when you realize it it’s too late to get some of it back and so just stay grounded , but enjoy yourself. I mean you’re only young once. So make the best of it, make mistakes that’s the only way that you learn from anything and just have fun,” says Britt.

Several local high school graduations are on the schedule for this weekend.

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