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Family and friends gathered as the Farmington Knights Class of 2018 graduated 288 during their 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 Elizabeth Felker, on behalf of the senior class, welcomed everyone to the commencement ceremony before the band played the “Star Spangled Banner" and the Air Force JROTC Color Guard presented the colors.

She then took a moment to recognize classmates who have chosen to enter the military upon graduation. This year eight 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.

High School Principal Dr. Nathan Hostetler then interrupted the proceedings asking graduate Derek Wisdom to stand saying, "Now we have an unusual opportunity to honor someone who is serving right now."

As Wisdom looked puzzled as to why he was asked to stand, his brother Sergeant Lance Davis of the Marine Corps walked up the center aisle and tears filled the eyes of many of the onlookers. According to Davis he has been away from home for almost two years with short visits since then. The two embraced in a hug and then Davis led the military flags back down the aisle.

The first guest speaker of the afternoon was Dr. Steven Kurtz, president of the Mineral Area College. Kurtz acknowledged the 30 students who completed their associate's degrese from the college as well as and the 11 students who completed a 42-hour credit block - all before graduating from high school.

Then Senior Class President Hailey Swain presented the traditional challenge. In her challenge, Swain asked the junior class to be adventurous, take opportunities when they are presented and to not lose sight of themselves.

"We all have our own path that leads us to our own adventures," Swain said. "This adventure known as life does have an expiration so do not put much time into the little details but to live freely and live every day as if it were your last. Live to accommodate your happiness and live to enjoy the life you are blessed with and simply live."

Junior Class President Kody Winch accepted the challenge and offered a response on behalf of her class. Swain promised the class of 2019 would bravely and boldly take on the challenges put upon them. Swain also thanked the class of 2018 for leading the way and showing them what to do.

After the two class presidents spoke, Choir Director Claire Naes led the A Cappella Choir in “I Lived.”

Following the class song, Dr. Hostetler announced the keynote speaker, Bobby Upchurch.

Upchurch thanked the class for asking him to speak to them and let them know how much he appreciated them all. He then said he was going to give them advice but hope that it was just cheesy enough that they would remember it far into the future.

He told the seniors to live, laugh, love and leap. He went on encouraging the graduates to live for something greater then themselves. He said to laugh a lot, love the truth even if it's something they do not want to hear and leap out of their comfort zone.

"Don't be afraid to mess up and leave what is comfortable to do something right," Upchurch said. "Don't wait until you're in your late 20s, after you're done sowing your wild oats..."

Upchurch then said he was going to bring it all together by giving the students a reason to laugh and make a fool out of himself. He then pulled out a guitar and began to sing a song he wrote for the seniors.

“Don’t let this world take your creativity or integrity or dignity," Upchurch sang. "Life's about more than you so live it to its fullest. It’ll be great you’ll see. Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet. Live your life so you can love it. If the decision's dumb then shove it to the side. Live life alive.”

Next, Assistant Principal Jamie LaMonds recognized Olivia Klug and Erin Coleman as having perfect attendance for the full four years of high school.

She then awarded the “Knight of the Year” honor. This year’s recipient was Evan Robinson. This is an award that not only takes into consideration academics, but also the student’s character as well. The student receives this award based on nominations of teachers.

"I personally have relied on this student to remind me that the small things matter," LaMonds said. "I am grateful for his time at FHS. I often struggle to define what Knight of the Year should be and moving forward I think I should think about his defining qualities and let him guide me in what it means to be a Knight."

Next, Hostetler presented the top 10 academic students including Ramos and Doty. The other eight students recognized included Sarah Longworth, Abigail Carter, Taylor Tucker, Brandon Ladd, Thanh Phan, Emily Briese, Jason Burnett and Jenna Moniz.

Before the diplomas were bestowed upon the class of 2018, Ramos addressed her classmates. At the beginning of her speech she showed the class a plain block of wood.

"The potential I see in the class of 2018 is beautiful," Ramos said. "At this point in our lives we are like uncarved blocks."

Ramos described those in their lives as carpenters who are helping carve them into what they will be in the end. She ended by wishing the best to her fellow classmates by saying she hopes they turn their uncarved block into a piece of artwork.

Farmington School Board President Angela Hahn and Vice President Howard Hoehn presented diplomas to the graduating class.

The crowd was then led in the school song followed by the conferring of degrees by Hostetler.

"We have 288 graduates standing before you," Hostetler said. "In the last four years they have won 24 conference championships, 12 district championships, took part in just over 21,000 contests and won roughly two-thirds of them, had 11 academic all-state athletes, two state honorable finishes, two statewide finishes, an all-state instrumentalist and finished top four at state in five separate occasions."

"Academically you are looking at 25 CNAs, nine entering in the military, 74 percent of them have earned college credit," Hostetler said. "That is a total of 6,349 college credits, 30 associates degrees, 11 42-hour blocks, a national merit finalist, 15 bright flight scholarships and 96 A+ graduates. Additionally we are looking at over 4 million dollars in scholarships awarded so far."

After boasting about his final graduating class at Farmington High School, Hostetler, with tears in his eyes, conferred their degrees and the tassels were flipped.

The graduates are Drew Alexander Adams, Kaitlin Alison Adams, Kaitlyn Denise Adams, Dylan Lee Allen, Chance Dylan Alligood, Drew Taylor Amsden, Shelby Nicole Anderson, Christina Nicole Arnhart, Kodi Arnold, Ian Wayne Allen Asher, Ashley Nicole Atnip, Kaleb Michael Aubuchon, Madilynn Ann Backer, Brandon Ray Backues, Jacob Daniel Bales, Kayli Ann Ballew, Trevor Ballew, Teddrick Bankhead, Colby Allen Barnes, Joyceline Dionne Barnett, Meghan Lynn Barnhouse, Haley Nicole Barron, Zachary Lane Barron, Brandon Michael Bell, Emily Bell Benson, Kiley Joan Black, Hannah Elizabeth Boeckmann, Riley Caitlyn Bohn, Hayden Bostick, Brayden Lee Bowling, Helena Kiersten Bradley, Isabelle Grace Bradley, Cherelle Braggs, Alyssa Jo Bramhall, Emily Jean Briese, Jacob Brinkley, Madison Lynn Brown, Megan Marie Burcham, Jason Scott Burnett, MacKenzie Allyce Burnette, Marion Mae Burnette, Sierra Anne-Nicole Burrow, Claire Busse, Taylor Brooke Carrow, Abigail Kristen Carter, Bryan Keith Chadwell, Dante Joesph Chamberlain, Heather Elizabeth Chandler, Devin Chau, Mariah Christine Cherry, Morgan Sue Cherry, Emma Taylor Childress, Isabela Machado Clubb, Allison Nicole Clark, Rachelle Julianne Clark, Erin Danielle Coleman, McGwire Michael Coleman, Kaylee Belle Conder, Marie Denise Copeland, Chelsea Marie Cummings, Gavin Murphy Cummins, Sarah Marie Danieley, Gunner Davidson, Noah Christopher Davis, McKenzie Paige Dean, Sean Patrick Deguire, Landon Joseph Donze, Megan Elise Doty, Sarah Elizabeth Doty, Addy Lynn Eckhoff, Kobe James Edwards, Dalton James Ellison, Claire Emily Ferguson, Laura Eve Ferguson, Christen Marcella Ferris, Brooklyn Tyler Fink, Breana Lou Finley, Jordan C. Firehammer, Courtney Jade Fox, Jacob Justis Francis, Marina Renee Francis,

Cameron Michael Friend, Kristen Elizabeth Gann, Michael Garner, Tyler Garst, Carly Jane Genenbacher, Alexander Cole Gerstner, Ashleigh Jornee' Gillespie, Grace Ann Gilliam, Garret Christopher Giuliani, Britny Marie Goldsmith, Skyler Danielle Gollaher, James Nicholas Goodson, MacKenzie Jo Govro, Morgan Jill Govro, Emily Rose Greif, Brooke Allison Griffard, Bailyr Ryen Griffin, Jaiden Rheann Grimes, Adrienne Michelle Hall, Kenneth Austin Hall, Andrew Laine Hamlett, Staci Michelle Hammock, Samantha Jo Hampton, Corey Harrison Haney, Justin David Hannah, Brendon William Hardy, Justin Edwin Harman, Ethan Richard Harp, Parker Scott Hastings, Tyler Ryan Hawthorn, Joshlyn Nicole Heberlie, Alexander Justin Helm, Lauryn Trinity Helvey, Abagale Diane Henley, Mollie Herron, Ethan Patrick Holifield, Kenzie Faye Holland, Isabel Corinne Holloway, Jennifer Nichole Hotchkiss, Jewelly I. M. Huddleston, Devan Richard Hughes, Marsadeze Nichole Huitt, Madeline Paige Ingram, Hannah Elayne Jarvis, Logan Matthew Jarvis, Zoe Ann Johns, Alydia Noel Johnson, Gracie Raye Johnson, Taylor Rashea Johnson, Kyle Jacob Jones, Noah Thomas Junge, Arianna Nicole Kaley, Tommy Lee Keehl, Andrew Earl Kennedy, Jake Leon Kennon, Hannah Mae Kimpel, Katelyn Marie King, Olivia Marie Klug, Madelin Rose Knight , Dawson Brian Koen, Sierra Kay Kopp, Emerson D. M. Krause, Moira Nicole Kurtz, Rylan Ross Lachance, Rachel Nicole Lacy, Brandon Dale Ladd, Elle Marie Lappe, Michael John Lenz Jr., Ruger Michael Lindsey, Nathaniel Ryan Link, Cole Steven London, Sarah Michelle Longworth, Devin Scott Lumma, Drew Blaine Lynch, Sydney Danielle Lynn,

Ethan Christopher Maize, Hanna Nicole Maize, Emiley Lynn Mann, Jacqueline Marie Martin, Alysa Kareece Massey, Rhiannon Mathis, Brandon Shawn Maurer, Megan Alicia Maxson, Madison Nicole Mayberry, Franklin David Mayes, Kevin McCartney, Bailey Marie McDavid, Matthew Lee McElrath, Brad Lee McEntire, Brock Francis McLeod, Kristen McNally, Jenna Mackenzie Moniz, Joshua Derek Moore, Amelia Bea Moran, Olivia Emmaline Morgan, Austin James Muse, Nicola Casey Myers, Jaycie Ann Nagel, Kara Lynn Nations, Faith Alyssa Nelson, Shawn Le Nguyen, Katherine Renee Nichols, Chase Logan Nicholson, Matthew Austin Nokes, JC Michael Odle, Josiah Abraham Owen, Jacob Nathaniel Oyler, Alexander Lane Palmer, Rebecca Jean Parker, Sara Elizabeth Parker, Michael Ryan Parks, Maddison Claire Pfeifer, Kelly Pham, Thanh Uyen Phan, Aaron Jacob Phillips, Megan Renee Platten, Seth Andrew Polus, Kailey Marie Poteete, Cody Christopher Pyeatt, Kimberly Renee Ramos, Abigail Kyla Ramsey, Abigail Reed, Matthew Lawrence Reever, Ellen Marie Reidt, John Terrance Renshaw, Allenia Briane Rhodes, Alissa Marie Rickmann, Savannah Marie Rippee, Greg Dalton Roberts, Evan Bradley Robinson, Alexandria Paige Rogers, Steve Ryan Rogers, Youen Camille Ropers, Alexis Loray Roth,

Alaina Kay Sanders, Alexis Jo Sanders, Carly Lynne Savage, Nicholas Ray Scavone, Kaia Rebecca Schott, Jackson Robert Schrum, Sukyi Scott, Kaiden William Shelton, Priscilla Dawn Shipman, Victoria Dawn Sigman, Heavenly Angel Sims, Michael Aaron Simmons, Eric Mathew Skiles, Joseph Wayne Slinkard, Kenneth Dewayne Slinkard, Catarina Marie Smith, Lillian Grace Smith, ZuZu Dolores Smugala, Christina Joy Sparks, Alec Karl Stacy, Brianna Jewel Stacy, Mary Elizabeth Stagg, William Joseph Standiford, Kaleb Michael Storie, Samantha Leann Stricklin, Cameron Sutton, Hailey Nicole Swain, Karah Drew Talley, DeShay Avery-Marie Tate, Zachary Thomas Tedder, Karlie Nichol Thieret, Briley Jo Thomas, Briley Ann Thompson, Gracie Ann Thompson, Kayla Marie Thomure, Emily Francis Tiefenauer, Angel Nicole Townsend, Katrina Renee Townsend, Gracie Lynn Tripp, Gracie Lynn Trokey, Samuel Joseph Trokey, Alyson Paige Tucker, Taylor Nicole Tucker, Paige Nicole Turley, Alexis May VanHoosier, Kaleb Joseph Varvera, Savanna Gean Vaughn, William D. Vazques-Calderon, Collin Jason Vinson, Harrison Dale Waddell, Clayton Lane Wagganer, Jacob Scott Wallace, Victoria Noel Warren, Hailey Janee Weir, Samantha Katherine White, Brendon Whited, Dakota Cheyanne Whited, Wylie Lynn Whitehurst, Kenneth Lane Whitworth, Alexandra Danielle Wild, Kinley Marie Wilkerson, Camryn Raelle Will, Hannah Rose Wilson, Derek Kevin Wisdom, Bailey Marie Wood, Daevynn Nicole Wood, Sarah Lynn Worley, Cody Dale Wright, Mason Alexander Wright, Ethan Christopher York, Austin Joseph Young, Jeremy Young and Joshua Dylan Zaricor.

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Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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