STANTON — Valedictorian Morghan Minnick stood before her 109 Central Montcalm classmates in a warm high school gym at Sunday afternoon commencement exercises and told them this day was not an ending but a beginning.
The graduating seniors, wearing green and black gowns, were surrounded by family and friends who whooped and cheered proudly as the men and women crossed the stage and received their diplomas.
“Our lives are really only beginning, and we have so much more to experience,” Minnick said. “We get to decide who we are and what we want to do with the next four years of our lives. How many of us have not dreamed about our future major, a husband or a wife, a job? Our lives are only going to get better. We get to live those dreams.”
Honor students and foreign exchange students were announced and applauded.
“Of the 110 graduates, 100 of them have applied to college and seven of them will serve our country by joining the military,” Principal Tony Petersen said. “Thirteen years ago you started a new chapter in your lives as kindergarteners. You are a different person now than you were then. Many of you wanted to grow up to be firefighters or ballerinas of super heroes. A lot can happen in a short time, and now it is time for your next chapter.”
Mercedes Hendrick had mixed emotions.
“I’m happy, I’m excited, but also kind of sad,” said Hendrick. “I went to school here all 13 years and a lot of my friends did, too, and now it will be different.”