Jones proudly carried the school’s flag as he has so often in the past.
At the beginning, at halftime and after each touchdown, Jones would carry this flag onto the field or across the sidelines during football games.
Earlier this year, he was presented with a full-size flag with the signatures of the football players as the school rallied around this beloved teacher diagnosed with cancer.
Family and friends remain hopeful that medication and treatment will shrink the lesions.
Jones was also one of two honorees of the JHS Bell Award, presented by the students to two of their most inspiring and deserving teachers each year for all their work with the graduates through out their high school careers.
The procession he led Friday was the culmination of 12 years of hard work for these graduates.
Lloyd Sutherland, the school’s valedictorian, reminded his fellow classmates that, while they have experienced a great deal already, life has just begun for them.
“We have suffered the loss of friends, won the dress code battle, mostly,” he said during his speech. “Our time here has been fun, but it is only the beginning.
“From this point on, our true voyage begins as we push off for shores unknown, across the sea of life.”
Sutherland encouraged all there that evening never to give up.
“Every time we overcome a challenge, we will become stronger and obtain the charge to face our destinies,” he said.
“We will face these storms head-on with all our strength and we will be rewarded when we pass through to the calm on the other side.”
No matter the obstacle, no matter the challenger, Sutherland said, they as students have been taught the lessons that will guide them their rest of their lives.
“Life is a long, winding path with many twists and turns,” he said. “Along the way, there are numerous forks in the road – each leading in a new direction, with many possibilities ahead.”
Matthew Dakota Del Bosque, salutatorian, reminded his classmates that the moment so many of them have been waiting for has finally come.
“In these last 12 years, I’m sure everybody has said, ‘I can’t wait to grow up’ or ‘I can’t wait to leave Beeville,’” Del Bosque said. “Well, in a couple of hours, we are going to be able to do that.
“We can go as far away as we want.
“This seems like a great idea at the moment, but in a couple of weeks of a new life without mom and dad or your best friends, Beeville might not have seemed as bad as we made it out to be.”
He, like Sutherland, encouraged them all to pursue their dreams with a desire to improve their lives.
“I believe we have so much untapped potential, and I hope we all give ourselves the chance to reach this by following our dreams,” Del Bosque said. “It doesn’t matter what you want to be, a doctor, a lawyer or a welder.
“Go out and give it your best shot.
“If you succeed, you will be happy you took a chance, and if you don’t, you will gain experience and know what you need to work on to get better.”
He called on all the graduates to be the leaders they were trained to be.
“Today, we live in a world of followers,” he said. “I challenge everybody to stand up and be a leader and control our own lives.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.