Each of Hanford High School's 13 valedictorians had their own message for their fellow classmates Friday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Some talked about the hard work it took to make it to graduation and prepare for the next phase of life. Others took a light-hearted approach, choosing to quote the movie High School Musical or the mythical Harry Potter character Professor Dumbledore.
It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be, said one valedictorian, quoting Dumbledore.
Though different, each speech had a celebratory tone and was infused with a sense of accomplishment.
Teachers spoke about how unique the amazingly talented class of 2013 was and about the different talents each student possesses. A group of foreign exchange students from across the world was honored, showing how truly diverse the senior class was.
The valedictorians finished by having everyone join together to sing happy birthday to fellow valedictorian Quinten Dicken, who turned 18 Friday.
The Falcon of the Year Award — honoring the Hanford student who best exemplifies what it means to be a Falcon — was presented to co-winners Lindsay Bullock and Savanna Steele. They were among six nominees for this year's award.
The loudest ovation of the night came when the eight students who plan to serve their country in different branches of the military were honored. Everyone in attendance stood and cheered as an American flag waved overhead.