Destin High School has announced the celebrity guest speakers for the 2023 Commencement, which will feature the very first graduating class in the school’s history.
The ceremony will take
place on Friday, May 26, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. at the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Amphitheater, located adjacent to the high school’s campus.
“We are excited to invite the entire community to join us as we celebrate the Class of 2023 and to hear from not one, but two celebrity keynote speakers, with local ties to Destin, for the Destin High School Class of 2023 commencement,” said Head of School, Christine Cruickshank. Cruickshank added, “Our Graduation speakers bring a diverse range of life experiences, business acumen and both embody the values we strive to uphold each day — making a
difference, innovative thinking, hard work, and resilient leadership, all while inspiring hope, and
promoting kindness, with a touch of laughter.”
Leigh Anne Tuohy, dubbed a “warrior princess” by author Michael Lewis in his best-selling book, THE BLIND SIDE. Leigh Anne is the inspirational matriarch of the Tuohy family and a graduate of Ole Miss. Her love for the Destin community runs deep, as she and husband, Sean, have had a home along the Emerald Coast for decades.
Leigh Anne is a motivational speaker and an interior designer by trade. Her work has been featured on numerous TV shows, including HGTV, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and Designing on a Dime. She has designed for clients from athletes such as Peyton Manning and Scottie Pippen to CEO’s and Universities. She is a New York Times best-selling author of In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving.
After The Blind Side book and movie were released, the response was overwhelming and as a result The Tuohys established their charity, The Making It Happen Foundation, which promotes awareness, provides hope, and improves the standards of living for all the children fighting to survive in the invisible cracks in society. Leigh Anne truly believes that everyone has the ability to make a difference.
“As discussions turned to keynote speakers for our first class of seniors, we knew we wanted the speakers to have a connection to Destin and to have an inspiring story to share with this historic group of seniors, who have made a difference in the community. I immediately thought
of my friend, Leigh Anne Tuohy. Her life story and her ability to make great things happen for others continues to inspire many. I’m excited for the students and their parents to meet her at
graduation and hear her speak,” added Heidi LoCicero, Destin High School founding board
Acclaimed writer Sean Dietrich, also known as Sean of the South, is a columnist, novelist, and stand-up storyteller known for his commentary on life in the American South. His work has appeared in Newsweek, Southern Living, Reader’s Digest, Garden and Gun, The Tallahassee Democrat, the Birmingham News and The Mobile Press Register. His column appears in
newspapers throughout the United States.
He has authored fifteen books, and he is the creator of the Sean of the South Podcast.
Most readers familiar with Mr. Dietrich’s work, know that it is important to have a tissue handy when you read his work, as it will leave you laughing, until tears run down your face or crying
from the emotional story he has detailed with such eloquence, you can’t stop sniffling. His style
of writing is both comforting, yet riveting, poignant, yet profound.
Born in Missouri, Dietrich moved to Walton County in Florida, as a teen, after his father died.
“It’s really the only home I’ve ever known,” he has said. “I’m a Panhandle guy. It has been my inspiration, too.” Dietrich started writing an adult, after going back to school at Okaloosa-Walton Community College, now Northwest Florida State College in Niceville. Dietrich, who is
also a musician, met his wife, Jamie, playing the piano for a Baptist church in Destin, Florida.
She’s a Brewton native with a culinary degree and certification as a math teacher. The couple, formerly of Santa Rosa Beach, now reside in Birmingham, and make frequent trips back to the beach and to Nashville, where Dietrich appears on The Grand Ole Opry. “Sean Dietrich’s life story of finding his passion in life, by writing and pursuing a career in that field, despite obstacles, was one I felt the students would connect with. His stories pierce the heart and often
remind us of what is really important in life,” said Julie Worth, dean of students.
Reserved seating assignments will be provided for graduate’s immediate family and guests.
Community guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs if seating is needed.