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SPECIAL SECTION

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Angela Major
Graduates throw their caps after receiving their diplomas Sunday, June 11, 2017, during the commencement ceremony at Milton High School.

Milton graduates enjoy their 15 seconds

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Jake Magee
Sunday, June 11, 2017

MILTON—On a hot, humid, mildly breezy day, hundreds of Milton High School seniors gathered at Carl Anderson Field to savor the few seconds they had worked 12 years to enjoy.

Proud families and equally excited high school teachers cheered on the students as they accepted their “precious pieces of parchment” that proved, yes, they did indeed survive the public education system.

Here are some scenes from the ceremony.

HEATED

Students gathered in the school's gym to organize themselves before the festivities began.

Girls dressed in red gowns, and boys wore black. Regardless of the colors they donned, graduates were hot in the stuffy gymnasium.

How did senior Tom Rakestraw feel minutes before his big moment?

“Really sweaty,” he said.

Nico Pusateri felt warm, too, but he was still excited.

“There's going be mixed emotions here throughout the day, but I'm just ready to move on with the next part of my life,” he said.

Rakestraw wants to go to the College of DuPage in Illinois to major in psychology. He dreams of one day joining a SWAT team.

Nico and his twin brother, Noah Pusateri, will become Reserve Officers' Training Corps members at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. They both want to join the military but have different backup plans: Nico would get a degree in criminal justice to become a detective, and Noah would become a dentist.

After organizing, the students filed outside where the temperature wasn't much more forgiving than indoors.

FIFTEEN SECONDS

Seniors took their time entering the ceremony.

Teachers lined up to give each student a high five, handshake or hug. One student with a cast on his leg and two crutches beneath his arms struggled and offered his elbow for a teacher to high five.

“Oh, well,” he said with a smile.

Class President Emily Wallace said each student would enjoy about 15 seconds as they crossed the stage to accept their diplomas.

In 15 seconds, a hummingbird can flap its wings 225 times, a student can trip on the stairs and awkwardly stand back up, and a person can cook a quarter package of Minute Rice, she said.

However, after 12 years of school, each Milton High School graduate was fully cooked Minute Rice ready to take on the world, Wallace said.

Honor graduate Nicholas Patrick reminded students in his speech to never forget to say “thank you” and never assume it's implied. He also mentioned the class of 2017 set the record for the most tardies in a year, rousing cheers from his classmates.

Other honor graduate Nicholas Bartlett used fancy words in his speech such as “pertinence,” “homogeneous” and “ubiquitous.” Not a bad vocabulary for someone going to Dartmouth College to study journalism.

Bartlett told his classmates they can do great things, so long as they believe in themselves.

EXTRAORDINARY

Principal Jeremy Bilhorn took a moment for a brief history lesson on the Miracle of Dunkirk.

During World War II, Allied soldiers were stranded in France and surrounded by the German army. Military officials feared the soldiers would be captured or worse at the enemy's hands.

When British civilians heard the soldiers needed rescuing, they assembled a fleet of every boat imaginable to evacuate the troops, Bilhorn said.

“Ordinary people can come together to make something extraordinary happen,” Bilhorn said, encouraging graduates to step up and do something great with their lives.



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