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With friends and family watching, Farmington High School administrators bestowed diplomas to 263 members of the Class of 2017 during the commencement ceremony Sunday at the Farmington Civic Center.

The seniors entered the gymnasium and made their way to their seats as Band Director Elliot Naes led the Farmington High School Band in “Pomp and Circumstance.”

Student Council President Abigail Winch, on behalf of the senior class, welcomed everyone to the commencement ceremony before the band played the “Star Spangled Banner" and the Air Force Junior ROTC color guard presented the colors.

Winch then took a moment to recognize her classmates who have chosen to enter the military upon graduation. This year six graduates have chosen to enlist in the Armed Forces.

In addition, the class paid tribute to the other men and women who have served their country with a presentation of a military flag from each branch of the armed services.

The first guest speaker of the afternoon was Dr. Steven Kurtz, president of the Mineral Area College. Kurtz acknowledged the 31 students who completed their associate of arts degree from the college as well as and the four students who completed a 42-hour credit block - all before graduating from high school.

Then senior class President Marriah Strange presented the traditional challenge to the class of 2018. In her challenge, Strange asked the junior class not to be the typical millennials. She told them it was okay to have their heads in the clouds if they were trying to make a better world, and challenged the junior class not to be complacent in an ever-changing society.

Junior class President Hailey Swain accepted the challenge and offered a response on behalf of her class. Swain promised the class of 2018 would build upon the accomplishments of the previous class. Swain also thanked Strange for being a role model and someone to look up to for inspiration.

After the two class presidents spoke, high school Choir Director Kevin Nicoletti led the A Cappella Choir in “The Lonesome Road.”

Following the class song, high school Principal Dr. Nathan Hostetler announced the keynote speaker.

Kelsey Powell, a science instructor and student council advisor at the high school, was schedule to give the address but a family emergency prevented her from attending the ceremony.

Instead, Hostetler chose to read Powell’s speech to the class.

In the speech Powell thanked the class for asking her to speak to them on their special day. She explained that her first year of teaching coordinated with the senior class as freshmen, so she had a special bond with them.

She told the seniors she had trouble trying to think of what to share with them to help the students upon their journey, so she decided to share a few life lessons.

First, she told them, never fill up on the free bread at the restaurant no matter how good it is.

If you offer to help, don’t quit until the job is done.

She also added that you only get one chance to notice a new haircut ... and just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

But more importantly, Powell reminded her students of other life lessons such as to give credit (when due) and take blame (when due) and know when to do both. She told them to stand up to bullies ... saying you will only have to do it once.

Powell recalled something said by Dr. Brian Reeves, another high school teacher and last year’s keynote speaker, when she added “Whatever you are, be a good one. All work is honorable. And I wholeheartedly believe he is right. You’re all going down different paths, and that’s fantastic. As long as you are a productive members of society you can chalk it up as a win.”

Finally, in her speech read by Hostetler, Powell told the students to take every opportunity to learn, “You have to put something into your bank of knowledge. After all, you can never be over-dressed or over-educated.”

Following the presentation of Powell's speech, Assistant Principal Jamie LaMonds presented the “Knight of the Year” honor. This year’s recipient was Valedictorian Evan Reeves. This is an award that not only takes in consideration academics, but also the student’s character as well. The student receives this award based on nominations of teachers.

Next, Hostetler presented the top 10 academic students including Valedictorian Evan Reeves and Salutatorian Lucie Trokey. The other eight students recognized included Blake Vandiver, Emily Heberlie, Abigail Winch, Alexander England, Charles Cook, Makensey Zahner, Katlyne Barnhouse and Sophi Thurman.

Before the diplomas were bestowed upon the class of 2017, Reeves addressed his classmates. He challenged his classmates not only to "Make America Great Again," but to be an inspiration to the whole world.

Farmington School Board President Kerry Noble and Treasurer Angela Hahn presented diplomas to the graduating class.

The ceremony concluded with Nicoletti leading the graduates and guests in the school song..

The graduating members of the class of 2017 included: Jahad Rahim Alaboudi, Alan Micheal Amonette, Derika Shanae Amsden, Nicholas Ray Ancira, Jonathan Carl Anderson, Jedediah Jacob Ayers, Grace Harley Bachler, Luiz Gustavo Balestro, Alexandria Marie Ballinger, Katherine Chase Banger, Jessica Nicole Cheyanne Barbour, Tiffany Nikole Bargo, Emily Rose Barnhouse, Katlyne Larae Barnhouse, Brayden Wade Barrett, Chloe Mae Barton, Josie D. Barton, Nicholas Howard Beister, Breanna Michelle Belvin, Chace Hunter Benne, Anthony Wayne Bequette, Kenneth Alexander Bequette, Ian S. Bernard, Alayna Grace Berry, Megan Nicole Berry, James Bishop, Brock Owen Blackmon, Jacob Paul Bone , Ashleigh Elizabeth Boots, Austin Henry Boots, Baylee Nicole Botkin, Clifford Lamar Braggs, Michael James Edward Breier II, Brandon Neal Bretz, Ashley Meagan Brinkley, Conner Brown, Tristin James Bumgarner, Ashley Nacole Cain, Elly Anna Casey, Riley Rachelle Cisneros, Colleen Sandra Cissell, Nicholas Ryann Clark, Rodney Ivan Clark , Shelby Jane Collier, Rebecca Hope Colligan, Taylor Michelle Collins, Zachary Michael Compton, Kaitlyn Sue Anne Conaway, Brandilyn Pininah Conrad, Charles Oloughlin Cook, Tanner Dugal Corcoran, Jonathan Michael Courtney, Hannah Marie Cowley, Stephen Ray Crain, Thomas William Crain, Corben Jackson Crites, Austin Lee Cureton, John Daniel Declue, Camilla Deiana, Lucas Eugene Dement, Jr., Shelby Deanne Dixon, Kassee Lee Dobbs, Kyleigh Elizabeth Drye, Gavin Lane Duncan, Jordan Ray Duncan, Ashlynn Nichole Dunlap, Mary Katherine Eaton , Emily Taylor Eaves, Julianna Elizabeth Ely, Alexander Joseph England, Edward Ross Felker, Hannah Marie Fenwick, Ainslee Grace Finch, Chase Earl Fischbeck, Connor Reed Francis, Alex Joseph Franklin, Cody Tyler Friedmeyer, Jacob B. Gaines, Marcus Shane Garner, Kendall Allen Gartner, David Andrew Gaston, Gina Marie Gerstenecker, Sara Nichole Gibbs, Kyler Wayne Gibson, Emma Grace Govreau, Haley Marie Graven, Dylan Edward Graves, Alexander Cataldo Greco, Braden Tate Greif, Adam Augustus Griffith, Brandon Warren Grimes, Madilyn Julia Guthrie, Elina Marie Hagemann, Zachiriah Austin Hahn, Kalob Alan Hale, Ryan William Hale, Jade Marie Hall, Emma Rose Hampton, Madison Paige Hampton, Michael John Hand, Kalani Hao, Bradly Alexander Harman, Blake Evan Harris, Katelyn Sue Harris, Kyle Richard Hatch, Nathan Levi Hawk, Emily Justine Heberlie, Hannah Marie Heberlie, Samuel Reese Hedgecorth, Garrett Michael Hedrick, Colby Austin Heifner, Ashlyn Coral Renee Helvey, Kent Wayne Hendon, Trent Shane Hendon, Darik Shane Henson, Logan Dean Henson, Tyler Lee Hill, Ashlin Marie Hodges, Alexis Holley, Joyce Anne Holmes , Rodney Gene Holt, Jr., Donovan Devonte Howard, Taylor Marie Husk, Hunter Caleb Hux, Lisa Marie Hymer, Kathryn Anne Inman, Zoe Carly Marie Jennings, Seth Matthew Johnson, Emily Lauren Jones, Seth Matthew Jones, Kasia Kandace Kaiser, Anthony John Kee, Lane Jeffrey Keehl, Ivy Taylor Keesee, Julia Ann Keith, Emerson Reed Kennedy, Toby Nicholas Kent, Hannah Mae Kimpel, Jacob Austin King, Lauren Michelle King, Nathaniel Lee King, Maxwell Burton Kleppe, Karac Miles Knight, Crystal Len Koch, Austin Joseph Koppeis, Brandon Lee Krausch, Gunner Michael LaBrot, Keegan Jeremy LaBrot, Sara Gale LaChance, Ian Michael Lamb, Emily Grace Layton, Tiffany Nicole Lenz, Kate Braune Lewis, Megan Jiang Lin, Holly Renee Linnenbringer, Tommi Nicole Mangnall, Taylor Rene Marberry, McKenzie Rae Marshall, Brandon Shawn Maurer, Emma Nicole Means, Chase Brennan Medley, Morgan Elisabeth Meinhardt, Ananda Renee Messer, Madison Shayann Mewhirter, Brett Allen Miller, Hannah Rose Miller, Jasmine Marie Miller, Megan Leigh Miller, Jessica Margaret Moffit, Kyleigh Anne Montgomery, Christian Kane Moody, Brayden Michael Moon, Cheyenne Nicole Morris , Alicia Renee Mosier, Dustin Alan Mueller, Madison Muser, Tanner Michael Murphy, Taylor Marie Nash, Callista Susan Nickelson Chelsea America Nolasco, Ryan Scott Parson, Caitlin Louise Pearl, Karnell Simone Penny, Sarah Mae Perkins, Allison Marie Pingel, Dylan Price, Ryan Michael Propst, Madelynn Kaye Pultz, Connor Andrew Pyatt, James Brock Quinton, Samantha Raftery, Dakota Austin Raney, Victoria Alicia Rene' Rangel, Alyssa Ann Ratliff, Paige Nicole Ratliff, Shayla Elaine Reagan, Kenneth D. Reed, Evan Benjamin Reeves, Taylor Christine Reeves, Fidus Noah Reichert, Ric'Quanda Marie Robinson, Rachel Denise Rothlisberger, Olivia Jean Savage, Jonathan Stephen Savner, Nathan Robert Schultz, Martha Rose Schwalenberg, Taylor Jewell Schwartzkopf, Trenton Matthew Serini, Breanna Elizabeth Setchfield, Andrew Lane Shelley, Chelsea Lea-Ann Since, Benjamin Charles Sitzes, Madison Rose Skaggs, Scott Daniel Smith, Thomas John Sorbie, Ryan Jacob Sorg, Vinicius Souza, Viera Alexandra Marie Speakar, Jessica Laura Christine Sproat, Kirsten Nicole Stevens, Kurtis Jeffery Stevens , Garrett Matthew Strachan, Marriah Elizabeth Strange, Elizabeth Ann Sutherland, Nicholas Graham Taylor, Arieal Nicole Thomas, Dawson Dutch Thomas, Zachary Tye Thomure, Sophi Ann Thurman, Lauren Nichole Todd, Lucie Renee Trokey, Hallye Michelle Tucker, Justin Micah Tucker, Curion Marquis Turner, Hadley Marie Twidwell, Blake David Vandiver, Chase A. Vanstavern, Alexander William Vickery, William Evan Voyles, Megan Ashley Wade, Deven Walker, Brooke Lynn Warren, Gage Lee Wartenbe, Christopher Cordell Watson, Jacob Paul Weedman, Samuel Aiden Weekley, Emma Michelle West, Andrew Tappan Westbrook, Nicholas Alan Westrich, Alexis Marie White, Hannah Linn White, Zachary Scot White, Caden Reed Wigger, Kate Elizabeth Will, Bailey Cheyenne Williams, Landon Scott Williams, Tanner Lee Williams, Rebecca Kay Williamson, Olivia Mae Willis, Hailey Ann Wills, Aaron Christopher Wilson, Amethyst Lynn Wilson, Wade Thomas Wilson, Abigail Marie Winch, Brandon Troy Winder, Amanda Rose Wolf, Tyler David Wolff, Connor Shea Yordy, and Makensey Leeann Zahner.

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Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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