WARRENSBURG - Focusing on a theme of tackling new challenges, speakers at the Warrensburg High School graduation June 25 paid tribute to the 65 graduates who are moving on to a new phase in their lives.
Nationally renowned motivational speaker and former professional athlete Dan Clark urged the graduates and audience to pursue excellence, by investing the required additional effort and persistence.
"The difference between good and great is just a little bit extra," he said, adding that exceeding expectations leads to a successful life.
Rejecting prevailing negativity in one's surroundings is also important, he said, noting all people have unlimited potential.
A determined spirit can overcome any obstacle, Clark continued, mentioning the late Rodney Trapasso overcame substantial physical challenges of cystic fibrosis in achieving considerable success during his years, cut too short by the disease.
He urged the graduates to focus on the needs of others, much like Trapasso had. "How will we be remembered when we take our last breath?" he asked. "What will you do with your life - How will you give back and serve others?"
In his animated, lengthy speech, he answered his own question.
"Service before self, that's how you'll leave your legacy!"
Class valedictorian Cassondra Bruce also spoke of exceeding expectations.
She urged her classmates to pursue educational goals. Education is the fundamental key to achieving success, she said while praising the school staff and community for their years of support.
"You will never regret investing in who you are," she said.
Senior Abby Roth was rewarded for exceeding expectations to a remarkable degree. Roth was honored for never missing a day of school since she first enrolled in kindergarten. A three-sport athlete - including a groundbreaking career in wrestling - she's been known to invest extra effort the commencement speakers talked about. Roth is headed to Central Michigan University on a scholarship to play on the college's Division I Field Hockey team.