Turkessa Nunnelly had complicated feelings about her son, Dvon, graduating from high school. When she heard him called to the stage to receive a diploma during Mexico High School’s graduation ceremony on Monday night, she spontaneously dropped to the ground and did a cartwheel.

“I wanted to cry, but I was so excited that this happened instead,” Nunnelly said.

Nunnelly performed this impromptu acrobatic stunt during the ceremony at the school’s football stadium.

On Monday, 147 seniors received diplomas during the outdoor ceremony.

Nine seniors tied for a perfect 4.0 GPA, which means that this year’s graduating class had nine valedictorians. Kaelyn Denham, Alex Dukes, Kellen Ekern, Vincent Vitale, Julie Rothermich, Rebecca Rothermich, Shannon Stice, Sophie McKeown and Lauren Quinlan shared the title. Jessy Duong, who had the next highest GPA, was awarded the title of salutatorian.

The senior class chose two speakers to address the crowd, which was so large that the stadium was standing-room only.

“Today, we look forward to the future and what it holds,” said MacKenzie Davis, who spoke first. “I challenge each and every one of you to go out and make the world a better place.”

In addition to recognizing the accomplishments of this year’s graduating class, Monday’s ceremony also took a moment to celebrate members of the community.

Combined, the class of 2018 earned more than $1 million in scholarships. Six students graduated cum laude, 14 students magna cum laude and 19 students earned the highest honors of graduating summa cum laude. Ten students earned an ACT score of at least 30. Nine students are leaving the state for college, and 14 graduating seniors will continue their sports through collegiate athletics.

Jeff Anderson, activities director, presented Beverly Gorgeson with an honorary diploma from the high school for her volunteer work in the community and long service with the school board. Assistant principal Travis Blevins presented a distinguished alumni award to Dr. Ben Jolly, who graduated from Mexico High School in 1969 and now works as an orthopedic surgeon.

Senior speaker Emma Chedwick encouraged classmates to embrace the future.

“Whether you decide to go to college or join the workforce, the next few years are going to be full of eye-opening adventures,” she said. “We’re going to be afraid, but we can choose how much we let fear control us.”