Before the graduating class of 2017 crossed the stage and received their diplomas they heard about Life Lessons and played a game of Scrabble by seniors Travis Hampton and Grace Troesser.
In his speech "Life Lessons" Hampton shared the three life lessons he learned during his time at MHS, that being, regardless of how negative it sounds, we are nothing special; failure is its own success; and the mistakes are what make who we are. Hampton said some may question his approach. After all, a graduation speech is a time for happiness and joy. "But throughout life we often must face hardships to achieve joy," he said.
Failure is its own success: He told about Dave Ramsey from Tennessee who went bankrupt after becoming a millionaire. He is now wealthy again but does it by going around the U.S. telling people how to save money. "I believe that everyone graduating today knows that if we gave up after every failed math test, then not all of us would be here."
Mistakes are what makes who we are: "You probably have made one mistake in your lifetime, I once ran into a tree believe it or not, which was not my proudest moment. But that just goes to show that mistakes are part of life and they are unavoidable. But the beautiful thing about them is that they make us who we are."
He ended his speech by saying "Everyone is special. Be unique through your experiences and continue to try until you succeed.
Troesser's speech was titled "Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe: Instead of the usual speech, she played a game of scramble. Words included I-Phone, Never, Ride Around, Eating, Small and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. With each word she related how it pertained to the seniors during high school.
I is for I-Phone, and social media is a way to stay connected. "I care about every single one of you and I want to stay in contact with as many of you as possible, so feel free to add me on Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook."
N is for Never - "What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico, MO, so never forget. "I know it sounds clique, but honestly don't forget where you came from, where you grew up, and where all your childhood memories remain."
R is for Ride Around: "One of the memories I feel like most of us can share are the ride arounds with our friends."
E is for Eating: "What high school student doesn't love to eat? We ate when we are bored, when we're writing those long 15-page research papers, or after a workout - we eat."
S stands for Small: "Don't sweat the small things. We've all heard this, however, all of the small things you take for granted right now will be what we miss the most."
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a word which means extraordinarily good or wonderful. "Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, if you say it loud enough you always sound precocious. Hopefully every funny, sad, happy, angry, scary and emotional experience you had in high school has been supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."
The last letter O - stands for Oh No, Now What?: "So, now is the time we become adults, make our own decisions, live on our own and the 'oh' should turn into 'Oh Yeah.' This is your time to shine and become yourself. There will be no one telling you to do your homework, when to go to bed, or what to eat. What can be better than that?"
When all letters were put in order they spelled Seniors. "Each of these Scrabble letters have a value of one because each of us are one of a kind. None of us have the same interests, hobbies, or abilities," said Troesser.
The evening began with the seniors being escorted to their seats by junior ushers Vincent Vitale and Sophie McKeown. After they were at their seats, everyone stood as the Dixie Gray Band members played the "Star Spangled Banner," followed by "Blue Ridge Saga' by the senior members and Dixie Gray Band.
Special presentations were presented to Charles Lind who received the Honorary Diploma, the family of James Hill as Distinguished Alumnus; Donna Troesser, Senior Class Teacher of the Year and to Kris Fecht, Lori Mealy Award.
Lind began became the assistant principal and athletic director at Mexico Senior High School in 1988. During his tenure the Sport Complex and Gallop Softball Field were completed. He is active in the community. He is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Mexico Optimist Club Mexico YMCA and Missouri Retired Teachers Association. Lind and his wife, Joyce have two sons, Brad and Brett both MHS graduates. They also have five grandchildren.
Hill graduated from Mexico High School in 1960 as the salutatorian of his class. While in high school, he was one of two Mexico boys to attend Boys State, a member of National Honor Society, serving as secretary and played saxophone in the Dixie Gray Band. He worked as a newspaper carrier, delivered telegrams for Western Union and trapped and sold furs. After high school he attended the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla earning his bachelor's degree in Ceramic Engineering. In the summer of 1962 he started a summer job at A.P. Green Company and after graduating college in 1964 he stayed on with the company that eventually became Harbison Walker until 1991. Hill and his wife, Jean, were married in 1969. They raised two children Deb Hill-Haag and Stephen Hill. These marriages would give them four grandchildren.
Hill passed away in 2016.
Dr. Terry Robinson, principal at Mexico High School, gave recognition to honor students. Taylor Brown is the 2017 Class Valedictorian and Shania Early is the Salutatorian.
In her Valedictorian speech Brown reflected on the seniors four years at Mexico High School. After touch on the three years before their senior year, she talked about their last year at MHS. "It's crazy to think after all these years we will each go our own way, only able to see our past in our rearview mirror," she said.
Brown said she hopes the seniors always remember their days at MHS. "For it was here we truly learned what it means to be a class. No matter your age, color or race, know that you each have left your mark on this place,"
She told them they are Bulldogs at heart. "So class of 2017 remember you are a Bulldog at heart even as we go our own ways, even though we must part, the alma Mater is rooted in you wherever you go. Mexico High School is a part of you. It will always be home. Here's to the future, present and past. Class of 2017 tonight is the final affair. I wish you the best of luck," Brown said ending her speech.
After the presentations it was the moment the seniors have been working forward to for the past 13 years - their high school diploma. The presentation of diplomas was by Dr. Peter Perll, president of the Board of Education. Readers were Keith Louder, Jennifer Silver, Jami Williams and Lindsey Yancey, MHS faculty members.
The faculty formed lines on either side of the stage to congratulate the seniors. Once they were back at their seats, senior class president Hayden Foreman presented the alumni class of 2017. To close out the evening the Chamber Choir sang "Fly" and "Alma Mater."
The Dixie Gray band played the recessional as the graduates formed a circle on the field for the traditional throwing of their hats into the air, all while fireworks were lighting up the sky across the street on the baseball field.