A total of 106 East Newton High School seniors graduated Monday night.
GRANBY — A total of 106 East Newton High School seniors graduated Monday night.
The night was filled with speeches from the valedictorian Rachel Stafford, the salutatorian Whitney Thomlinson and guest speaker, Scott Watson, who is with Mercy of Joplin and also the former Newton County prosecutor.
"Throughout the years, I have watched my classmates grow into the people that they are today," said Stafford, in her opening speech. "Every one of us that makes up the class of 2013 have left our mark on this school, whether it was on the courts, in the classrooms or in the hallways. Not only do we leave our marks on these places, but also most importantly, we have all left our marks on each other. The friendships that we have built throughout high school and our time together in elementary schools, have brought along many memories and for me, those memories will never be forgotten."
Stafford told about her path after high school.
"My goal in life is to become a pediatric occupational therapist," she said. "I plan on using that career to help change a child's life and help their life become easier. I am not the only one who is going to leave their marks in this world. This class is going to go far in life and leave their mark on whatever path they choose to take."
As she listed the different fields that her fellow classmates would go into such as teaching, construction, accounting, military, business, ministry and so on, the classmates stood up.
Reflecting on the famous president Abraham Lincoln, Watson gave his opening remarks.
"Abe Lincoln at his Gettysburg Address said the following: 'The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here,'" Watson noted. "Isn't that the way for you? There are people and times you will remember, but the fact is, for the rest of your life, you will recall what you did do."
He noted that Monday night was their night.
"It is an honor to share this evening with you, 34 years ago, I sat in your seat," said Watson. "I didn't think much of it, it would be the last time I saw the majority of my classmates and that is true for you too… Tonight is your night together, but I promise you these years go by in a blink."
Watson asked if there were any movie buffs in the crowd. And there were. He quoted a couple of movies, but his favorite was Tombstone.
Quoting from the last scene in the movie, he said, "Wyatt Earp goes and visits Doc Holliday. Doc holiday says, 'what did you ever want?' Wyatt said, 'just to live a normal life.' Holliday said, 'there is no normal life. It is just life. Get on with it.' and Wyatt said, 'don't know how.' Holliday replied, 'sure you do.' Some of you will stay in touch, but most of you won't. So tonight, you are saying goodbye to the people who have made you who you are: Your teachers, your parents, grandparents, friends, your colleagues, they have made you who you are. Because tonight begins a fresh start, tonight begins a new life. And you can decide who you want to be, but remember what Doc Holliday said, 'there is no normal life,' and every life is as unique as your DNA, only you can determine if your life is a success or is a failure…"
After the diplomas were handed out, high school principal Scott Charlton made the motion to signify the 106 seniors became high school graduates of the class of 2013.
"I am very, very honored (to graduate)," said Cheyenne Clarkson.
Clarkson will attend Crowder College to pursue a nursing degree.