Wise words from classmates and cups of lemonade from neighbors sent the Carthage High School Class of 2013 into a future the 300-plus students can only imagine right now.
Carthage High School celebrated its 135th commencement with the graduation of this class, held Tuesday at K.E. Baker Stadium.
Before they entered the stadium for their final acts as students as Carthage High School, the students got a sweet, and tart, send off with a tradition that the family living at 819 E. 13th St., across from the stadium, has been maintaining for the past 13 years.
Vicky McComas, Sandy Coffman, Jobe Welton and others at the home served gallons of free lemonade to the seniors as they waited in the sun to march into their future.
"We've been doing this since our kids graduated and now they're grown and have kids of their own," said McComas as she poured more glasses of lemonade. "These kids get hot out here and it's something we can do to help."
After proceeding into a packed stadium, the seniors heard from their classmates, the three salutatorians,
Cailin Dawley, Cathryn Siebert and Blake Splitter, and Valedictorian Zeb Reed.
Each of these young people had a different perspective on their time at Carthage High School and differing sets of advice for their classmates.
"I remember all of the activity books that I went through," said Salutatorian Cailin Dawley. "I always enjoyed connect the dot pages. First they taught me numbers that I am rather obsessed with now. My mom would probably testify it was a way to keep my mouth shut. But as I reflect, I see how it is rather similar to life. As I think, there are stages for everything, first steps, first words, the first day of kindergarten, the first day of junior high, the first day of high school and the last day of high school. If you don't follow those stages in order, the picture of life is rather distorted, just like in connect the dots when you don't follow the numbers in order."
Salutatorian Cathryn Siebert talked about the tools she believes will help her in her future.
"Every person in our lives has left a lasting impression whether good or bad, that has shaped who we are and who we will become," Siebert said. "There are two important tools in determining our future that these people have given us, and while they seem similar, they are very different. Those tools are knowledge and wisdom."
Salutatorian Blake Splitter talked about the relationships he's developed and how they shaped his high school career.
"I have grown up with you guys, through better and through worse, and I have cultivated close relationships with many of you," Splitter said. "It is these relationships that I will forever cherish. Our lives and experiences in high school probably differ greatly and I may stand here as one of your salutatorians, but we sit here, quite literally, on an even playing field. High School may have come and past, but it will forever live in our minds as we pass through out our lives."
Page 2 of 2 - Valedictorian Zeb Reed congratulated his classmates for graduating, but reminded them that graduation is a beginning.
"There's a whole lot of world left out there and we've only scratched the surface," Reed said. "Even though we've graduated from CHS, we now have college, careers and kids to look forward. There's a lot to be done Tigers and it won't be easy. But even though this task seems daunting, I would advise each of you to reach high, reach higher than you ever thought you could. Reach for the heavens, and then a little higher, because limits are often just illusions we place upon ourselves."