The Seneca R-7 School District awarded high school diplomas to 127 graduates Saturday evening, at the Class of 2013's high school graduation ceremony.
Of those students, 12 graduated with honors, 12 graduated with a 4.0 grade point average and 24 were members of the National Honor Society.
Among the honor graduates were valedictorian Joshua Griner and salutatorian Jaime Leonard, who spoke to their fellow graduates about their memories from their years in school and their hopes for the future.
"While I cannot say I'm going to miss high school, I will miss the friends that I've made, the teachers I've had and the memories we made," Leonard said.
She left her fellow graduates with advice for the future by sharing a bit of advice with the group, "Now, as we get ready to graduate and go our separate ways, I'd like to end my speech with a famous quote, 'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that's why we call it the present.' Make sure to open yours," Leonard said.
Meanwhile, valedictorian Griner said while graduation was not the end, but only the beginning, and that he believed great things lie ahead for his classmates, he also believed the night was a time to reminisce about all the class had been through together in the past 13 years.
"Tonight is not just a night to look forward, but also a night to look to the past and celebrate all of the experiences that brought us to this graduation," Griner said.
He recalled "carefree" elementary school years filled with book fairs and baseball, an "awkward transition period from a child to a teenager" in middle school, the beginning of organized choirs, bands and competitive sports in junior high school, and the big step to high school.
"We entered this building with even more nerves and apprehension than we did at the junior high, I remember walking into school that first day as a freshman desperately searching for my first hour class in a sea of unfamiliar faces," Griner said. "But just like before, we adapted."
Griner said while some of his classmates got interested in sports, some applied themselves to their studies, and some made new friends, the class of 2013 will always share a common bond.
"No matter what path we chose, this small town high school will always serve to keep us connected, almost like a family," Griner said. "High school gave us the opportunity to discover our passions, all the while preparing us for a day we never thought would come, but here we are."
The graduates also took a moment Saturday evening to remember their former classmate Kayleigh Teal, who was lost in the May 2011 Joplin tornado. The graduates wore small butterfly pins on their gowns in her memory.
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