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Students in the Mexico High School Class of 2013 graduated Monday night with 162 graduates receiving their diplomas. Four additional classmates will be delivered their diplomas today.
Rain forced the commencement to be moved inside the MHS Sports Complex – which was filled to capacity and more. Some people watched the ceremonies on a live Internet feed set up in the complex lobby and facilitated by MHS Media Journalism Instructor Jami Williams and her students. More than 600 people reportedly viewed it online.
MHS senior Jordan Henry opened with his address to this fellow classmates, saying "We started out as young athletes, artists, and scholars with everything to prove. We stepped up to the plate, worked hard, and now we walk away champions in our own right. We've managed to do some amazing things in a very short four years."
Henry added: "It now falls upon us to give a return on these investments. We need to push ourselves through the trials that are to come and create a better tomorrow with our lives, if for no other reason than the fact the previous generation relies on us to do so."
Keeping with tradition, the Class of 2013 made a few special presentations. The honorary diploma was presented to Dana Keller, executive director of the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce.
Chuck Rentschler was named the Distinguished Alumnus and the Teacher of the Year Award was given to Clark Winslow – who received a standing ovation from the graduating seniors. One student referred to him as the "Teacher of a lifetime."
The Lori Mealy Award was given to long-time district employee Martha Hamilton, and an Honorary Veteran Diploma was presented to WWII Navy Veteran Frank Kramer – who dropped out of high school in 1945 to join the military. The 86-year-old Kramer walked to the podium Monday night to receive his diploma and thanked the class for giving him the opportunity.
Valedictorians Josie Mueller and Mathias Whitworth both offered words of advice to their classmates. Mueller urged the seniors to "never to give up," and Whitworth advised them that it is OK to "try and fail," but never "fail to try."
MHS senior Jared Melton was named the Class of 2013 Salutatorian.
MHS Journalism Instructor Jami Williams and Class of 2013 graduate Loralee Hays sang "For Good" for the graduates. The Chamber Choir and Senior Choir sang "Home" and "Alma Mater," and the Dixie Gray Concert Band played the recessional.
Mexico Board of Education President Peter Perll congratulated the new graduates and said he "looks forward to seeing the great things" they will do in the future. He too told them to "never give up."
MHS senior graduates Gabrielle Keller, Aaliyah Shivers and Jose Luis Hernandez offered these final words of wisdom:
"We came, we saw and we concurred," Keller said. "But, be not afraid of this chapter (of your life), embrace it," Shivers added.
In striving for success, Hernandez told his peers to "Aim high and fly strong."
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