By Thomas Garcia, PNT Staff Writer
It certainly was not the largest class, but a lively class as the nine seniors of Elida high school graduated Saturday night in Elida.
The seniors were gathered in the cafeteria moments before graduation, each of them nervous in anticipation and full of mixed emotions.
“My classmates and I were at my family cookout last night and that’s when it hit me that I was about to graduate,” said Quentin Griffin. “I keep wondering how it is going to be not coming to school and seeing my best friends, whom I have grown so close to over the years.”
Valedictorian Wesley Gilmore was nervous about giving his speech in front of all his friend and family.
“It’s not really my thing to get up and speak in front of everybody,” Gilmore said.
Although when the time came, Gilmore delivered a speech filled with hope for the future that awaits him and his classmates.
“Make every day your masterpiece,” Gilmore said. “A large part of tomorrow is made part of what you do today.”
The guest speaker for the event was Don Thomas, a friend of the class of 2008. Thomas’ speech was focused on reminding the seniors that no matter where they go and what they do in their lives, they will always be a Tiger and they will always have a home.
As the seniors handed flowers out to their parents thanking them for years of support, Aaron Pena found his father in the back of the gym and joined him in a tearful embrace.
“I have never seen my dad cry before,” Pena said. “When he started to cry, I could not hold it back.”
Before the seniors received their diplomas, the parents and teachers had a surprise. The seniors had made a video composed of pictures of their childhood and school days. However, the parents and teachers noticed a few pictures were missing, so they made a video of their own with the missing footage.
The seniors watched and laughed along with the audience as pictures of diaper-clad babies with smiling faces, and candid moments filled the screen.
As the seniors received their diploma,s they gathered to wait in front of the stage for the traditional hat toss. Even though there were only nine of them, they did not disappoint as they cast up their blue hats together at mid-court.