Audience members stood and cheered Thursday, May 24, as Cedaredge High School 2018 graduates marched into the school gymnasium to the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance."
Graduate Jacob Lewis walked to the stage to greet everyone. He introduced the the guests seated on the stage, as well as several faculty and administrators of Cedaredge High School. He then recognized students -- graduates with 20 hours or more of tutoring, taking and passing college and/or advanced placement classes, graduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, members of National Honor Society, graduates who were in FFA for all four years, lettering in band or choir, and finally graduates entering the military and those in the audience who are veterans.
Next, Cedaredge High School principal Randy Brown asked that the teachers please stand and be recognized for their efforts in getting the graduates where they are today. Brown also thanked the parents for their continuous support. He said that while this group of student may not have been the most vocal they still showed the way for underclassmen in a classy way.
"Forty of our 64 graduates have a GPA of 4.0 or higher. They have earned thousands of post-secondary money. They have put the work in and it will pay off in their future," Principal Brown said.
Amanda Cerise, school counselor, was next to speak. She introduced valedictorians Jessica Craig, Hannah Hatheway and Holly Jenkins, and salutatorians Peter Carlson, Kayla Kensler and Grace Andrews.
Hannah Hatheway, the first valedictorian speaker, earned a GPA of 4.25 while also actively participating in journalism, cross-country and track and field, while taking college and AP classes.
In her speech Hatheway said, "Everyone has the power to influence someone or to change something... If you think you are too small to do something, you have never been bitten by a mosquito... Everyone here has made a positive influence in someone's life. We don't have to like people to love people... Love is one of the most powerful forces on earth and it often controls what we do and ow we feel. A little bit of love can go a long way."
Valedictorians Jessica Craig and Holly Jenkins delivered a combined speech about the success of an individual coming from the support and togetherness of a community.
Next, graduate Isaac Vader preformed "Romance" by Sibelius on the piano. After taking his final bow each of the three salutatorians spoke.
Grace Andrews said, "I hope all of us have dreamed big, continue to dream big and follow those dreams. I hope that as we all continue to grow and mature we surround ourselves with people that help us to achieve our goals."
Salutatorian Peter Carlson said the Class of 2018 was like a tree and Cedaredge High School was the soil that the tree was planted in. During high school people came together to form branches and some went their separate ways creating smaller limbs, even though they all share the same roots. Each seed that falls from the tree represents a different student who gets blown around the world so that in time it too will be able to plan its own roots.
Finally, salutatorian Kayla Kensler said, "Whatever you may to choose to do next, do something you love. Don't spend the rest of your life trying to please everyone; go out and do what makes you happy."
The next portion of the ceremony was the parent dedication, where students found their parents in the crowd to thank them for all that they have done by giving them a flower.
After the parent dedication 64 graduates received their diplomas from school board member Pete Blair. Following the awarding of the diplomas, everyone turned their attention to the Class of 2018 slideshow presentation.
The lights came back on and the mixed choir, featuring five graduates and two underclassmen, sang "Child of Tomorrow" by Mark Patterson.
Graduates Brooke Klaseen, Jade Gummo, Nathan Stumpf asked their classmates to stand and join them in the turning of the tassels, from the right of their caps to the left to bring the graduation ceremony to a close.