Alec Watson, one of three seniors to speak, urged his classmates to go for their dreams and not to be derailed by the naysayers.
“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be,” Watson, quoting Abraham Lincoln, said. “I’ve always found that to be true.”
Before his address, senior Blake Meyer asked for a moment of silence for Tommy Baker, 47, Wellsville, who died earlier this month. Meyer called Baker one of the school’s most ardent supporters.
In her address, senior Mikayla Douglas called Baker Wellsville’s No. 1 “super fan.”
Baker was first on a list of Douglas’ 13 reasons why the class of 2013 was lucky, culminating with the “13 wonderful years” the seniors spent growing up together in Wellsville.
“Thirteen is not normally thought of as a lucky number, but it was for us,” Douglas said.
Meyer said it might be a sad day for seniors’ mothers in the audience who were watching their “babies” graduate, as the reality sunk in that their sons and daughters soon would be leaving home for the next chapters in their lives.
Meyer, Douglas and Watson wished their classmates well in the future and urged them to make a difference in the world.
During the scholarship presentations, Emily McCullough, school counselor, told the audience the graduating class had earned more than $15,000 in local scholarships. Forty-four graduates planned to pursue secondary education or vocational training, with three planning to enter the workforce, she said.
Sheldon Pokorney, WHS principal, presented seniors Cassie Enright and Douglas with the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s Citizenship Awards, and he announced Watson was the recipient of the Dale Dennis Excellence in Education Award.
Josh Adams, assistant principal, told the audience Douglas and Watson were the class’s valedictorians, with both wrapping up their high school careers with 3.98 grade point averages.
In his closing remarks, Pokorney told the audience that four years ago, when he called the middle school to find out what the incoming freshmen would be like, he was told the Class of 2013 was one of the nicest bunch of kids to ever come through the school district.
After watching the 47 seniors go through four years of high school, Pokorney said, that description still rang true.
Pokorney turned his gaze to the seniors seated to his right.
“There is always room in the world for nice people,” he said. “Don’t change who you are.”