This was a graduation like no other. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, HISD graduates on Friday were treated to a citywide outdoor celebration in partnership with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The heat did not put a damper on Worthing High School seniors’ enthusiasm or their determination to make it an evening to remember. Across the district, hundreds of graduates, including the Worthing valedictorian and salutatorian, watched a video of congratulatory messages from local and national celebrities produced by the Mayor’s Office. After that, it was the seniors turn to hear from their principals, teachers, and valedictorians and salutatorians.
Twins Kerdy and Kerdian Baptiste were unique in placing first and second in their senior class at Worthing. Their speeches were filled with inspiring words for fellow students and gratitude toward family members, teachers, advisors, and friends who helped them along the way.
“I am indeed honored to be the valedictorian at Worthing High School, a school with so much history, the true Pride of Sunnyside,” said Valedictorian Kerdian Baptiste. “It seems like yesterday I was a nervous freshman with so many emotions. My family had just relocated from New York, and it was challenging to relate to other students or even understand their accents.”
Kerdian’s brother Kerdy, the salutatorian, began with an inspiring message for his peers. “Follow your dreams,” he said. “If you have a passion for something you’re good at, invest in yourself and stick to it. Keep striving. Plant the seeds in your garden that you want to see grow. Give it 110 percent, and you will get where you want to go. Be fully committed to yourself and keep working hard. Hard work never goes unnoticed—somebody will see you.”
Kerdian included a shout out to Worthing math teacher Bryan Tigner, saying, “Mr. Tigner is my rock and has helped me through some tough times throughout the year. When I needed someone to talk to, he was there. Thank you for making me who I am. Mr. Tigner has a leadership program for young men called Kappa League that really helped me, and I’m grateful for all the experiences and adventures.”
Tigner later responded, saying that Kerdy and Kerdian are phenomenal students who constantly strive to be excellent.
“Their enthusiasm for learning has made me a better teacher,” he said. “They would always battle each other in my geometry class. Kerdy’s pleasant personality will be one that will he remembered throughout my teaching career.”
The twins both thanked their mother, brother, and sister-in-law for their ongoing support.
Lastly, they expressed their gratitude for having a supportive twin.
“All four years we supported and uplifted each other, especially when it came to school,” Kerdian said. “Kerdy is the reason I am valedictorian, and I am proud to have him alongside me as salutatorian.”
Kerdy agreed, saying that his sister pushed him “to be the best person he can be.”
The twins have been accepted to more than 10 universities and are in the process of deciding which one to attend in the fall.