Great Bend High School seniors celebrated their graduation Sunday at the 2011 commencement ceremony at Memorial Stadium.
Speakers were Alby Harris, class valedictorian, and MaKenzie Sauder, salutatorian.
Harris began her remarks with a word of advice: "Wear sunscreen." She had several words of advice for her classmates, actually.
"Try to do one thing every day that scares you."
"Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either."
"Get to know your parents ... be nice to your siblings."
"Wherever you go, remember there will always be bad drivers."
"My final piece of advice is, be proud of who you are," Harris said, proclaiming, "I am a Ginger." The red-headed senior then revealed a T-shirt with the word "GINGER" under her graduation gown. As classmates cheered, she said that’s one more reason why she will be wearing sunscreen in the future.
In her speech, Sauder recalled the students’ transition from freshmen to seniors.
"As freshmen, we took the school by storm," Sauder said, going on to list class accomplishments and major events. "And finally, senior year, we all set aside our cliques and differences and became one class."
Sauder will remember "dancing all night at prom and Holly Ball," and chanting "It’s great to be a Panther" after a sports victory over Hays. She thanked parents and teachers for the role they played in the students’ lives.
"God has different plans for each of us," Sauder concluded. "You don’t know what the finish line is like until you get there."
Principal Tim Friess also spoke briefly.
"This class has more than its share of leaders," he said. "It is not so important where you go or where you walk in life; it’s who you walk with."