The 111 members of the Connell High School Class of 2013 marched Friday evening onto Esser Field with plenty of exuberance.
There were lots of big grins and — as the two lines of seniors met — plenty of hugs, stylish fist bumps and more than a little dance in their steps as they took their seats.
Senior Stefan Davidson sang The Star Spangled Banner before a crowd of hundreds of parents, relatives and friends. He finished before a freight train passed just blocks away.
Valedictorian Elizabeth Castro said train whistles — no matter where she is in the world — will always remind her of her hometown and high school.
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Her speech encouraged her classmates to always be curious: “Be curious about change. Be curious and visit new places. Be curious and learn about yourself. Be curious about tomorrow.”
Valedictorian Stephanie Crowther likened her schoolmates to a honeybee which in its lifetime produces just one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.
“I would encourage you to wholeheartedly contribute your one-twelfth ... and find a way to make a difference. You are important. Never underestimate your potential, for it is truly valuable,” she said.
Be your own independent person, urged Valedictorian Ashley Thompson. She said every good, bad, or indifferent aspect of their lives in high school will be completely cut off now. That who they decide to be in the future will be 100 percent at their discretion.
Salutatorian Rachel Eskildsen recalled her class’ hijinks, including making a jump rope out of book covers and nearly getting homecoming canceled with a stink bomb, or three.
The graduates include eight Running Start students, 41 who are going on to college and 28 who earned $438,936 in scholarships.