TUPELO • Emmalee Blaylock was not going to let an injury prevent her from attending her high school graduation.

Many seniors expressed concerns about falling on stage at the Tupelo High School’s graduation ceremony at the BancorpSouth Arena, but Blaylock was confident it would be a memorable moment.

The Tupelo High School senior fractured her ankle in a skateboarding accident that happened on Mother’s Day, but a former classmate helped bring her out in a wheelchair to receive her diploma in front of friends and family waiting in the arena Friday night.

“I hid the skateboard so my parents wouldn’t throw it away, and it’s in my trunk. My mom said I should hold it while I crossed the stage,” Blaylock joked.

Cameron Blanchard said graduating was bittersweet. She said she could remember being in eighth grade like it was yesterday. Blanchard was voted “Miss THS” by her classmates and looks forward to attending the University of Mississippi to pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon.

“I’ve really had a lot of fun in high school and it’s really been more fun than I originally thought it would be in eighth grade. I’ve made a lot of friends,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard said none of her success to this point would have been possible without the support of her parents.

“It’s daunting, but my parents are always there for me, always,” she said.

Twins Cate and Claire Burroughs have done everything together since childhood. The two finish each other’s sentences and speak at the same time, so it is perhaps no surprise they both plan to attend the University of North Alabama in the fall to study nursing together.

Walking into a men’s restroom and switching classrooms were just two capers the sisters got into while in high school, but the two were not nervous to walk across the stage on Friday night.

“We’re excited,” Claire Burroughs said.

There were 446 seniors in Tupelo High School’s 2019 graduating class, and valedictorian Eric Huey addressed his classmates with words of encouragement.

“As we say goodbye to our high school’s football games, proms, pep rallies, we should take the speed at which our lives are about to dramatically change,” Huey said.

“Do not allow life to pass by while you sit by. Instead, grab a paintbrush and whatever paints that you prefer, and choose to be the artist of your own life,” he said.

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