CARSON CITY — As graduate Andre Collins accepted his diploma and walked across the stage in the gymnasium of Carson City-Crystal High School, he paused for a brief moment, smiled, and raised his diploma high into the air.
“Dad, I did it!” he shouted with satisfaction.
Collins and his fellow graduates, dressed in the class colors of purple and black, brought with them a fierce and lasting spirit as they celebrated their final moments before becoming Eagle alumni.
Graduate Samantha Coston greeted everyone in attendance with the class welcome, thanking parents, friends, teachers, coaches and fellow classmates for all of the help throughout their path to graduation, before throwing her arms into the air and shouting to her classmates, “We’re done!”
The class invocation was then delivered by Katie Wilcox, who was then followed by class speaker Lucas Ratu. In Ratu’s speech, he asked of each of his classmates to include a little laughter in their life.
“I think wisdom is one of those things that has to be taught from person to person, but you can’t teach laughter,” he said. “You can’t teach someone to have a good sense of humor, and as we graduate today and go out into the world, laughter will be even more important.”
Ratu then expanded on his thoughts, telling his classmates that the laughter and humor they find and use could help them to push through difficult obstacles they may encounter in adulthood.
“There is no doubt we will fail in life, I’m probably failing right now in this speech,” he said with a laugh. “But you bet your bottom dollar I’m going to laugh about it tomorrow. The important thing is that when we do fail, we learn from it and laugh about it. You can’t dwell on the mistakes you make and you can’t change the past. You can only change what you do in the future.”
Ratu closed by reminding his peers that they are now independent with endless responsibilities.
“We have a lot to look forward to today. Many opportunities are up for grabs and it’s up to us to take advantage of them,” he said. “No longer will we have the guidance of our parents and teachers to push us along the right path. We will be independent adults. After today what we do is only a reflection of the decisions we make and the paths we find.”
Following Ratu was fellow class speaker Kali Donahue, who gave a brief history of the time spent in the Carson City-Crystal school system.
“I will never forget those elementary school days running around the playground, not having a care in the world,” she said. “It seem like a lifetime ago.”
Donahue recapped a class history that included a football team that reached the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, a girls basketball team that won back-to-back district titles and a wrestling team that qualified for the state championships in Battle Creek.
“No matter where life may take you, my advise is to always give 100 percent and live life to the fullest,” she said in closing before quoting one of her classmates. “In the words of Emily Ward, ‘Win forever.’”
The high school band then played a rendition of “Party Rock Anthem” which was followed by Superintendent Kevin Murphy, who officially accepted the class of 2013.
The students moved their tassels from right to left in a final gesture before throwing their caps high into the air in celebration.
The new graduates then made one final pass around the gymnasium in front of their parents, relatives and friends as their class song, “Whenever You Remember” by Carrie Underwood was played.
With smiles, tears and many hugs, the students exited the school a final time with the words of their class motto, a quote from Dr. Seuss, hanging on the wall behind them.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And, you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”