CRYSTAL RIVER — After waiting two extra days, more than 300 Crystal River High School Pirates took their maiden voyage into the unknown — adulthood.
Family and friends gathered under a powder blue sky Friday evening to watch members of the Class of 2017 walk up to receive their diplomas — marking the 47th commencement ceremony for the school.
Students learned a lesson after their graduation was postponed Wednesday due to severe weather: Sometimes things don’t go as planned. That, however, didn’t dampen spirits on Friday.
As a sea of royal blue and gold graduates proceeded into the stadium, sounds of excitement stirred with a sweeping rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the Crystal River High School Marching Band.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, Sherry Dourm addressed fellow graduates.
“It is not just about making it to that finish line, it is about every single moment that comes before it,” she said. “There isn’t a plan for everything, and even if there was our vision continuously changes.”
Rachel Halleen followed with the Reflection speech.
“High school, you will soon realize, is a place like no other,” she said. “Though as you move on, stay true to yourself and what you have learned here. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Finally, Ethan Kennedy delivered the Vision speech relating “Star Wars” to their futures.
“Remember Yoda’s words: “Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering,” he said. “My fellow Pirates, don’t be the darkness in this world. Be the light. Class of 2017, I will miss our time here. I will miss this school. I will miss our wonderful, hard-working, and caring staff, and I will miss you, but I know your future is bright because the Force is strong in you.”
Crystal River High School Class of 2017
* Number of graduates: 350
* Student Body President: Gunnar Consol
* Student Body Vice President: Madison Winship
* Student Body Secretary/Treasurer: Abigail Epstein
* Senior Class President: Sherry Dourm
* Senior Class Vice President: Clare Redrick
* Senior Class Secretary/Treasurer: Tiffany Kulas
* Senior Class Representatives: Madison Avery, Katlyn Begley, Rebecca Carrico, Michelle Gonzalez, Mia Gunter, Ethan Kennedy, Shelby Lynn, Heather Putney
* Class song: “See You Again” — Wiz Kahlifa and Charlie Puth
* Class Flower: Orchid
* Graduation Speech: Sherry Dourm
* Reflection Speech: Rachel Halleen
* Vision Speech: Ethan Kennedy