Clinton grads told: ‘We started from the bottom, now we’re here’

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staff, Gazette
Sunday, June 2, 2013

— A couple minutes before the Clinton High School band played “Pomp and Circumstance” to a packed gym, school secretary Sue Lavery stood in front of nearly 100 graduates-to-be in a hallway Saturday night.

“Walk to where I go. Stay in line!” she reminded them.

Dressed in their blue robes with blue and white tassels, the students followed Lavery around the school’s large atrium and waited at the doors of the gym to enter in pairs. Just inside the door, proud parents and friends held up cameras and cell phones to capture the walk.

“I’m going to fall,” one student in heels said before a classmate reassured her.

Saturday’s 45-minute ceremony included thanks to parents and teachers and harkened back to memories of elementary and middle school for the small graduating class.

“Always remember where you came from, and who was along for the ride,” said Savannah Waller, one of the school’s five valedictorians who spoke at the ceremony.

Another valedictorian, Zachery Finnegan, referred to crossing the street and coming up the hill that separates Clinton’s middle and high schools.

Valedictorian Megan Jass summed up the experience by quoting a song from the rapper Drake: “We started from the bottom, now we’re here.”

Allison Luety, a fourth valedictorian, told fellow graduates they would look back on Saturday with pride.

Recalling the memory of Noah Morris, a Clinton High School student who died in July of 2012, Luety implored them to “move on and make the most of today.”

“Go forward happy, excited, hopeful,” Luety said. “Our future holds more than we can imagine.”

After hearing from a handful of student speakers, Assistant Principal Benjamin Simmons read out the names of Clinton’s 95 newest graduates.

Bursts of applause and the occasional air horn congratulated students as they received their diplomas and shook hands while walking across the stage. The crowd filled seats on the gym’s floor and most of its wooden bleachers.

Simmons read through all the names in less than 15 minutes.

The graduates shook cans of silly string as Principal Nichole Erickson closed the ceremony, then let loose a flurry of the stuff when she told them to move their tassels from one side to the other.

They filed out of the gym and went to take pictures with proud family members in the atrium—strands of silly string hanging from their shoulders and caps.

Last updated: 7:57 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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