Serving Barnwell County and it's neighbors since 1852

Blackville-Hilda High celebrates graduating class of 2024


On May 24, hun­dreds of mem­bers of the Black­ville community gathered to celebrate Blackville-Hilda High School’s Class of 2024.
In her speech, valedictorian Breanna Carrigg ­described graduating as “a bittersweet farewell,” and encouraged the class to ­remember the support of “our families, friends, teachers, and mentors.”
“My fellow graduates, as we bid farewell and step boldly into the future, let us carry with us the lessons of the past, the blessings of the present, and the hopes of the future,” Carrigg said. “Congratulations to each and every one of you on this momentous occasion. May our paths be filled with success, fulfillment, and happiness.”
Salutatorian Mahyla Nickens thanked her classmates, the school’s faculty and her mother for their support.
“My mother always pushes me to do the best I can and she will always be my number one fan,” Nickens said. “I wouldn’t be who I am here today without her. I may not show it all the time but I love you and you are appreciated.”
Brence Pernell is a graduate of Blackville-Hilda High School’s Class of 2004 who now teaches law at Columbia Law School in New York City. He gave a speech in which he spoke of the importance of self-education.
“It’s important to cultivate and maintain your curiosity beyond the world of Blackville,” Pernell said. “It’s important to let the world change you. From now on, you are responsible for your own education. The only questions about the world that you have to answer are the questions that you create for yourself.”
Pernell’s speech was cut short by a thunderstorm that sent the crowd inside for celebration and photos.
“The last time I was here on this football field was 20 years ago when I gave my own speech as Blackville valedictorian for the Class of 2004,” Pernell said. “And with several of my classmates here tonight 20 years later, watching their own children and loved ones celebrate, it all feels so wonderfully full circle.”

Elijah de Castro is a Report for America corps member who writes about rural communities like Allendale and Barnwell counties for The People-Sentinel. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep Elijah writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today.