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Jeremy Gaston/Herald-Chronicle

Jeremy Gaston | Managing Editor

MELVERN—The Marais des Cygnes Valley High School Class of 2013 graduated 17 from the smallest of Osage County’s senior classes this school year.

Commencement began at 2 p.m. Sunday with processional and entrance of the seniors, two-by-two, with the final group coming in three.
USD 456 Superintendent Darrel Finch welcomed the audience and graduates before Deborah Stukey and guest presented awarded scholarships to the class (see related story).
Salutatorian Ariel Sonsteng was the first student to address the crowd. She told the audience she had only attended MdCV two years, but said that time had changed her. She also encouraged her classmates to aim for something they love.

“We can’t always expect to get our dream job on the first try and have it smooth sailing for the rest of our lives,” Sonsteng said. “However, as Steve Jobs put it, ‘Don’t settle.’”

She challenged her classmates to find something they love, and not concentrate on “making a bucket load of money.”

Valedictorian Abby Phillips opened her speech by thanking friends and family for their support.

“None of us would be here without any of you,” Phillips said. “All of your support and encouragement have helped us all so much.”
Phillips focused her speech on four points – “Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday,” “Without rain, there would be no rainbow,” “Dreams don’t work unless you do,” and “A ship in the port is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.” She reiterated the final point with a tongue-in-cheek quote from the “genius” rapper, Drake, “YOLO!” (You Only Live Once.)

“I know the next part of our lives will be scary, but it’ll be fun, also,” Phillips said. “Just deal with the rain and don’t stay in the port too long.”

Phillips’ speech was followed with the introduction and presentation of the senior class, then the presentation of diplomas. Seniors were presented with roses, and in turn presented roses to friends and family members.

The graduated class then recessed in twos and threes to a receiving line at the back of the gymnasium to accept hugs, handshakes and well wishes from those attending.

Junior leaders for the program were Ashleigh Beery and Celeb Dickey. Candle lighters were Jennifer Flewelling and Isaac Lynn.

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