The love for Smyrna High School could be felt Saturday at the graduation of the Class of 2013 at the football field as nearly every person that spoke talked of the impact attending SHS has had on their lives.
The ceremony marked the school's 129th commencement, with 287 graduates.
Salutatorian Jen Caudill said the Class of 2013 spent 2,340 days, 16,380 hours, and 982,800 minutes in school.
"The countdown is officially over," Caudill said. "Let go of the goals you couldn't reach and focus on the dreams ahead."
Class advisor Michael Shaner told the students that while they could've gotten their high school education someplace else, they couldn't have gotten the same life experience at another high school.
Class treasurer Farhad Baqi reminisced on the last few years and noted that while graduation marks the end of a great chapter in their lives, there will be more exciting chapters awaiting them.
"The future of America is in our hands so please don't screw it up," Baqi said. "As Winston Churchill once said, 'This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. This is the end of the beginning."
Senior José Lopez was chosen to give his senior reflection.
Lopez said the past four years have truly been a life changing experience for him and the experience made him who he is today. Lopez also gave a shout out to the teachers for always being there for the students.
"That's one thing I love about Smyrna High School…the teachers. They're willing to be there for their students even if all the students need is a mentor or someone to confide in from time to time," Lopez said.
Valedictorian Alyssa Lattomus spoke on the importance of education. She said the Class of 2013 is lucky to live in a country where they are provided free public education.
"An education can provide us the foundation we need to make our pursuit of happiness a reality. We frequently take this for granted instead of appreciating the opportunities available to us in this country," Lattomus said.
Then she went on to compare education to playing sports.
"Hard work is needed both in school and on the field to ensure success. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it," Lattomus said. "The world we are going into as we leave school is not perfect. We need to believe in ourselves and our ability to do what we can to improve the world."
Principal Stacy Cook said of the 287 graduates, 80 percent have committed to go to college. These students will go to college on $283,000 of local scholarship money and on $1,416,195 of total scholarship awards. Moreover, seven percent of the graduates have committed to join the military.
"I hope that you are proud of yourselves for what you have accomplished and I also hope that you take the time to thank those who have helped you along the way," she said.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org