By MARY RAINWATER
Seventy-nine Elkhart High School seniors walked the stage of the Palestine Civic Center before a standing-room only crowd during the class of 2013 commencement ceremonies on Friday.
The collective class saw six advanced graduates with more than 50 graduating seniors being named Texas Scholars. The class also had a 100 percent passing rate on required standardized tests and earned over $500,000 in scholarships.
Salutatorian Luis Banuelos began his address by thanking his family, friends and God for their support in getting them to graduation.
“Tonight would not have been possible without all of you,” he said. “Everyone sitting here has potential to do the impossible. This class has the ability to be anything we want to be, and we owe all of this to you, the parents, friends, family and teachers.”
Banuelos said his time at Elkhart taught him more than just a classroom learning experience.
“What we have learned here is so much more than can be taken from a textbook,” he said. “We have learned values of integrity, honesty and respect.
“We as a class have laughed together, cried together, made memories together and made mistakes together — and we got through those mistakes together.
“I am very proud of what we have done.”
Valedictorian Allison Badgett called upon her classmates to dream big and to establish who they are in every situation.
“We all have taken different paths to where we are today,” she began. “I want to thank my parents who encouraged me to do my best, and to thank my teachers for their help as well.
“And thanks to all employees of EISD,” she continued. “Because of their support, we are prepared to face the world ahead.”
Badgett encouraged the classmates to be dedicated to meeting their goals as they continue through life.
“We must dedicate ourselves to our plans,” Badgett said. “All through life we will face opportunities to change, which reveals things about ourselves.
“Those of us going on to college and the military — we will be thrust into an environment where we don’t know many people,” she continued. “We will have to establish expectations of who we want to be.
“I wish all of my fellow seniors well in their individual paths.”
In presenting the Class of 2013, EHS Principal David Clark stated that the “Class of 2013 has brought honor and recognition to the school, the community, families and, most importantly themselves.”
Friday’s ceremony also include a performance of “The National Anthem” by senior band members; the invocation, by graduate Sarah Goodman; the class address, given by class president Tracey Clewis; turning of the tassels, led by graduates Jayme Irvin, Harley Brim and Josie Graves; the senior tribute, the song “We Are,” performed by graduate Kelsey Hubert; and the benediction, led by graduate Clayton Fitzgerald.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org