It drew a hearty chuckle from the Nunley Stadium crowd when one of the keynote speakers proclaimed the new graduates were now adults and would no longer need help from their parents.
Full-blown independence, probably not. But high school graduates, definitely so.
A total of 450 Warren County students iced their high school careers Friday night during a graduation ceremony that featured rapping, inflatable toys, and countless selfies.
Valedictorians Bella Smith and Bailey Barnes provided inspiration from the podium with a pair of well-delivered speeches.
“Don’t let anybody put you in a box. Don’t let anybody convince you that you’re inferior,” said Smith.
She said growing up with two siblings who were also WCHS valedictorians was “no pressure at all.” She said with technology encroaching on every aspect of our lives, new graduates have tremendous opportunities to make a difference.
“Don’t let anybody convince you ours is a petty generation,” she said.
Barnes encouraged graduates to take control of their own destinies and work hard to accomplish their goals.
“President John F. Kennedy once said, ‘Things do not happen. Things are made to happen,’” said Barnes. “This means you cannot sit back and watch your life go by and expect to become successful. You have to wake up every day and work to achieve success.”
He ended his speech by using a quote from another U.S. president.
“Let me leave you with this quote from President Ronald Reagan,” said Barnes. “‘There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.’”
Student body officers Dylan Powers and Jett Urtubees shared a speech reflecting on their school careers beginning with kindergarten. Powers said middle school was a time for girls to hang Justin Bieber posters and boys to make paper footballs. Urtubees said high school was a time for first love and first heartbreak.
“High school is where you get in the driver’s seat and find out where you want to steer your life,” said Urtubees.
The trio of Maya Denning, Colton Fincher and Nicholas Powell performed a catchy music medley that started with a rap beat and brought the student body section to its feet.
After a moment of silence to remember two lost classmates, the students walked the stage to receive their high school diplomas. The graduation ceremony was followed by Project Graduation at McMinnville Civic Center.