A total of 102 Seneca High School seniors became graduates on Saturday night.

“It is a bittersweet emotion,” graduate Taylor Carter said. “I am going to miss seeing a lot of my friends, because a lot of my really close friends are going far away, so I won’t see as much as I do every day at school.”
Carter will further her education by attending the University of Arkansas and majoring in pre-law.”

“I got into that this year,” she said. “I was planning on doing nursing, but I didn’t realize that I get grossed out easily and I was just naturally drawn to law.”

Another graduate, Kourtney Keith, said she was extremely honored to graduate from Seneca.

“But I will miss the people, definitely the people and the teachers,” she said.

Keith plans on also furthering her education by going into broadcast journalism.

“I always been into writing and everything,” said Keith. “It is a hobby that I have. I love it.”

During the ceremony, graduates heard speeches from Hailey Alexander and Tiana Brownen, salutatorians of the class. They also heard the valedictorian’s speech by Matthew Estes.

During his opening remarks, Estes presented a famous fable from Aesop.

“A hungry dog finds a large juicy bone, carries it off in his mouth and comes to a bridge,” he said. “He sees his own reflection in the water under the bridge, which he mistakes for another dog with an even bigger bone. He snarls at it and gives a bark. But at that moment, the bone falls into the water and vanishes, and the dog goes off hungrier than before.”

So what is the moral of the story?

“It is simple, when you grasp at the shadow, you lose the substance,” Estes said. “Disregard life’s trivial obstacles and focus on what truly matters. Indeed, this is a lesson that this class had learned all to well. It is been a long journey and we’ve all had to overcome our own personal hurdles to get here, but we’ve made it and successfully ignored our own shadows.”

He said that this was their graduation and they should be proud of it.

“Members of this class have won state speech and debate titles, gone to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for three years in a row,” he added. “We have earned ‘1’ ratings at music competitions for band and choir, had FFA members place in various contests. Members of this class have won countless trophies in various athletic events.”

Toward the end of his speech, Estes gave advice to the graduates.

“Whether you’re going to college, getting a technical degree or entering the workforce, though, remember the lessons we were taught here in Seneca,” he said. “Be responsible, be respectful, have integrity, always make sure your calculator is in degree mode, never mix sulfuric and hydrochloric acid and if you don’t know the answer, always pick ‘choice C,’ and don’t end your sentences with prepositions. Why? Because English teachers will tell us were not allowed to.”

Estes then congratulated his fellow classmates.

“I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and I know this class will continue to amaze and change the world,” he said.