By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CAMANCHE — Surrounded by friends and family on Sunday, 82 Camanche High School students took the next step in life as they received their high school diplomas.
The 53rd annual Camanche High School commencement ceremony unfolded without a hitch on Sunday as the 2014 graduating class was saluted for its accomplishments.
Much of the day was filled with encouraging words for their futures from keynote speaker Phil Cochran but five co-valedictorians decided a look back was the best way to celebrate their high school graduation.
“This is just the end of a chapter in our life’s story,” valedictorian Seth Boyson said.
During the valedictorian speech, each one stood up after the other, recounting memories of their lives in the Camanche School District. Some of those memories included Cochran, the former Camanche Middle School principal.
Now principal at Vernon Middle School in Marion, Cochran said he was honored to be selected as the 2014 commencement speaker.
His attention quickly turned to the 82 students sitting in front of him, many of whom he cared for as their middle school principal.
“You worked hard to sit in this chair, to wear that gown,” Cochran said. “There are kids in this room that are going to be amazing, you just have to be willing to take risks. We live in a country that rewards risk taking so don’t be afraid.”
His words were met with applause from the hundreds of people in the stands, watching as their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and grandkids walked down the aisle and received their high school diplomas.
Some family members shed tears as they watched their loved ones take the next step to adulthood, and the students radiated joy as they flipped their tassels from one side to the other, signifying the end of high school.
In parting, Cochran left the students with the wish that they find love in every aspect of their lives, saying that is the only true way to measure success. He added that as they traverse the sometimes difficult road of life their biggest obstacle will be themselves.
“There is no more fingerpointing here,” he said. “You control your own life. May your greatest dreams become your fondest memories.”