GOWRIE - As Prairie Valley High School Class speaker Megan Froisland addressed her 56 classmates in the class of 2010 during their graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon, she compared the day in which they completed their education to the day they first came together as a class 13 years ago.
"Remember our first day of school," she said. "We had our Power Ranger lunch boxes and our parents were there with their cameras, taking pictures and crying. Today we don't have our lunch boxes, but my parents are here, with their cameras, and probably crying."
Much laughter was experienced and a few tears were shed among the class as speaker Travis Ness gave the welcome, recalling kindergarten class pets, elementary school projects, middle school dances, high school and the long anticipated senior year.
"Senior year was our last chance to prove ourselves," said Ness. "Now we are taking the next step in our lives. This might be the last time some of us will ever see each other, but the memories will carry on with us."
Froisland encouraged her fellow graduates to be who they are and pursue their dreams.
"We have spent 2,340 days growing together as a class," she said. "We've made friends, lost friends, given up, persevered and succeeded. We'll remember the halls we walked and the things we've learned forever. Next year it won't matter who you were, whoever we are now is irrelevant to who we will become."
Traditional to Prairie Valley graduations, the senior chorus members performed a song, a senior video featuring each of the graduates and memorable moments from preschool through senior year was played and each student received their class flower, a white rose, to present to their families after getting their diploma.
Marshall Lewis, principal at Prairie Valley High School, acknowledged students graduating with honors along with those who had earned a silver cord by logging 40 or more hours of community service during their high school careers. He said the group of seniors has been one to be proud of.
"It has been a privilege to be the principal of these fine students," Lewis said. "It has been a great year of successes, trials and tribulations. These kids have met every challenge and overcome."
Senior Amber Stickrod gave the closing address before the graduates tossed their caps in the air and left the gymnasium as the newest members of the Prairie Valley alumni family.
"This has been a long road," said Stickrod. "But we will never forget it. You are all the most unique individuals I have ever met and have had a willingness to learn. We still have that hunger to learn, but in a more refined way. We will never stop growing, we have the potential to change the world, and we will."
Contact Emilie Nelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org