A Thursday rainstorm may have left the field at Bob Anderson Stadium too wet to hold a graduation ceremony, but it didn’t stifle the excitement of the graduates and their supporters who filled the Neosho High School gymnasium to capacity Friday evening for the school’s 2013 commencement ceremony.
The Neosho R-5 School District awarded 280 graduates with high school diplomas this year, with 86 of those seniors graduating with honors.
The class boasted 18 summa cum laude graduates, 17 magna cum laude graduates, 15 cum laude graduates, 16 Neosho Honors Academy members and 20 National Honor Society members.
The graduating class also included 86 A+ students.
The senior class selected science instructor and track and field coach Zac Nelson as the speaker for the evening. Nelson offered advice for the graduates’ futures, and drew several laughs in the process.
After joining the Neosho R-5 School District in 2009, Nelson said the Class of 2013’s graduation was especially meaningful for him.
“The Class of 2013 is special to me because we both arrived here at Neosho High School at the same time,” Nelson said. “They’re the first group that I’ve gotten to see go from freshmen to seniors.”
Nelson told the graduates to remember that the things they say can impact others.
“The truth is our words say a great deal about who we are, they carry a tremendous power,” Nelson said. “You have the opportunity in life to build people up or tear them down. I know each of you can think of a time in your life when words hurt you.”
He also warned the Class of 2013 not to get so caught up in their new lives that they forget the people who matter to them.
“Take the time to turn off the TV and call an old friend,” Nelson said. “Go visit your parents to remind them you still love them, or go for a walk without having to tweet about it. It’s OK to unplug from the e-world and into the real world sometimes.”
Nelson also encouraged the graduates to take a moment to reminisce about their time at Neosho High School, and to think of the classmates, teachers, mentors and teammates they were leaving behind.
“Just because you leave home doesn’t mean you can never return,” Nelson said.
He encouraged the students to make the most of each moment in life, and concluded by reminding graduates that their experiences at Neosho High School would be carried with them into their future endeavors.
Although the ceremony was held indoors, the graduates didn’t hold back on the celebration once the ceremony came to a close.
After the tassels had been turned and the final graduate crossed the stage, the graduates broke out the silly string, as caps and beach balls were thrown into the air.