The chill in the air didn’t take away from one of the community’s biggest events. The Phil Browning Field complex was filled with families, friends and community members to see the annual tradition.
Schools superintendent Gena Keller headlined the speeches with a short but very direct suggestion for the students to remember how important face-to-face time is.
Her speech, lasting under five minutes, discussed how these students were the first to really embrace bringing their own devices to school each day.
“You are a generation that is super connected,” said Keller. She told the graduates communication is deeper than just verbal but other physical clues that are best conveyed in person.
“Be super connected in more ways than the use of a gadget,” said Keller to close her speech.
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Valedictorian Rachelle Scott told her peers that graduation is the start of a new future with many possibilities but not to view that as a daunting task ahead. She said there are many dreams and goals each will have but it will all sort itself out.
“We have a plan that will work in the end,” said Scott.
The salutatorian, Veronica Voronina, tried to define success in ways that aren’t just based on a number but on values.
“Make your precious life worth every second,” said Voronina.
FCHS principal James Barlow told the graduates they will have many life choices ahead, including attending classes or getting a job, getting married or being a good parent. Each choice will require a decision the student must make.
“It’s your decision to make a difference in your life,” said Barlow.
Barlow mentioned the students had received over $1.1 million of scholarships for college. That averages $3,667 per student.
Keller gave the three annual Superintendent Awards decided with the strong influence of the graduating class. Long time FCHS teacher Janice Gradstaff received the faculty award. Frequent bus driver and rescue squad worker George Vest received the community award while Alyce Brotherton received the student award.
The graduation was rather quick compared to most ceremonies. From pomp and circumstance until walk out, the ceremony lasted approximately one and a half hours.