FREDERICKTOWN — Family, friends and relatives gathered Saturday evening for Fredericktown High School’s 133rd annual commencement ceremony for the 81 graduates of the senior class of 2009.
Graduates dressed in crimson red and silver entered the gymnasium becoming the focus as words of prayer, blessing and encouragement were spoken by fellow classmates, community members and school officials.
“My classmates and my friends, the past four years is what has made this present moment so great,” said co-salutatorian Gary Gregg. “This thing we call life is best described as one short one-way street. It is a unique road because through all the forks and intersections in the road there are no stop signs and there are no U-turns. Once you travel past anything it becomes rear-view mirror material.
“So as you travel down this road don’t worry about the turns you missed behind you and don’t hurry to get to the next intersection, because you might miss some pretty good scenery, both big and small, great snow-covered mountains or itty bitty squirrels.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us is small matters compared to what lies within us,” he added.
He ended by reminding his classmates to enjoy the moment.
“So don’t live for memories, live for the moment, because if you don’t live in the moment you are going to miss the memories,” he said.
Derek Scott, also salutatorian, spoke to his classmates of the fond memories they all share from their years as Freddies, and reminded the graduating class that no matter what, they “will always be Freddies.”
Amy Newman, valedictorian, commented further on the closeness they, as classmates and residents of Fredericktown, all share and will carry with them as they enter the “real world.”
“Fredericktown may not be a large village, but the closeness and the kindness that its people exhibit makes it a wonderful place to live,” she said. “We may not have much in common but we all come from Fredericktown, and no matter where we go, that is one thing that will never change. Everything else, on the other hand, will undoubtedly change.”
Newman concluded her speech with uplifting words.
“No one knows what the future may bring,” she said. “... Whichever version of the future awaits us please remember to think, have confidence in your decision, and enjoy life. My final words to the class of 2009 are, ‘live long and prosper.’”
Senior Class President Neil Brown described the class of 2009 with one word — fun.
“No matter what the occasion, our grade always found a way to have fun and leave our mark,” he said. “... So to say my farewells I would like to thank my fellow seniors for not only making the past four years the most to remember, but the past 13. Also guys, it’s been real, it’s been fun, it’s been real fun.”
School Superintendent Dan Humphrey gave his last words to the class of 2009, as this will be his last speech to the students before he retires. He asked the students during his speech, “What are your dreams? How do you want to better the world?”
“... I encourage you to follow those dreams,” he said. “Those dreams will take you to places that today you cannot even imagine. And I encourage you to write down those dreams. ... Be a dreamer and record those dreams.”
The students sat awaiting the moment when they would pass through the gate into adulthood and gain the achievement of a diploma. The moment finally came, with loud applause and shouts of encouragement from the crowd.