WCS grads advised to pursue their dreams by seizing opportunities

"Hold on tight, keep your eyes open, and enjoy the ride," she said.

Salutatorian Erika Gundel also recalled the highlights the seniors had enjoyed through the years, whether it was a sixth grade whale watch excursion, the Battle of the Classes event, the school dances, fireworks at the junior prom or a kickball game on the beach.

Also, she urged her classmates to resist peer pressure and be true to themselves in pursuing their ambitions.

"Do not follow where the path may lead," she said, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail."

While praising the students' character, Principal Doug Duell urged the students to stay connected, spending quality time with loved ones, enjoying life with family, friends and community.

"Being present and staying connected will give you a lifetime of happiness," he said.

Katarina Edwards presided over a presentation of gifts from the Class of 2009 to the school, which included an American flag flown over Iraq and obtained through her uncle, who has been in the military serving overseas.

Superintendent of Schools Tim Lawson talked about believing in one's self and confronting challenges, while achieving inner peace by maintaining high self-expectations.

"Success is the realization that inner peace and satisfaction come not from fortune or fame, but having lived a life doing the 'right thing,'" he said.

The commencement ceremonies featured selections by the W.C.S. Mastersingers, and the junior and senior choruses, which jointly sang "Let It Be," in an arrangement penned by Class of 2009 Valedictorian Nicole Newell.

Newell said that each graduate routinely faced choices which would have a substantial impact on their future.

"The choices we make are what set the course for our lives," she said. "We must choose to take advantage of the opportunities we have, when they arise, because we can't be sure when or if another chance might again come our way."

She quoted Hugh O'Brian, who founded a youth leadership organization in which Warrensburg students have participated.

"I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own destiny with great power for a specific purpose," she said, urging her classmates to be persistent in their endeavors.

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