BEVERLY - In speeches during Saturday's commencement ceremony, the trio of Fort Frye High School valedictorians encouraged their classmates to challenge themselves and leave their mark.
"Imagine how 108 Fort Frye seniors can impact the world if we step up to the plate in the coming years," said co-valedictorian Lacey Huck.
Graduating senior Ashleigh Craig already has an idea of how she wants to make a difference. The Churchtown resident will attend St. Bonaventure University in New York, where she plans to major in marketing and business information systems.
Members of the Fort Frye High School Class of 2011 proceed totheir seats
"I actually plan to own my own nonprofit organization that helps fund arts in the schools," Craig said.
"Check you out," said impressed fellow senior Aleeza Medina, who plans to attend Hocking College and study nursing, specializing in pediatrics.
Lowell resident Adam McKnight plans to enter the workforce immediately, having studied auto mechanics for two years at the Washington County Career Center. He said his brothers dropped out of high school so graduating on Saturday "feels pretty good."
McKnight said he's glad to be done with high school, although he'll miss his friends.
"One thing I won't miss is getting up early," he laughed.
Graduation day created some mixed feelings for Lower Salem resident Jennifer Stafford.
Fort Frye High School Class of 2011
Valedictorians: Lacey Huck, Hannah Schott, Daniel Worthington.
Class motto: "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Class flower: Hocus pocus rose.
Class colors: Tye-dye and clear.
"I'm excited about it but yet I'm also nervous," she said. "I'm going to miss all my friends and all the fun times."
Stafford will spend the summer doing maintenance work at Salem-Liberty Elementary School. She then plans to attend Washington State Community College and get an associate's degree in nursing, a field she said she wants to pursue because she likes to help people.
Many graduates on Saturday expressed an interest in helping people in their future careers, whether it was Lowell resident Celina Petty as a pharmacist, Beverly resident Leah Baker as a teacher or Lowell resident Bernard Wilson as a law enforcement officer.
One had already begun his service. High school Principal Susan Rauch noted senior Tanner Ogle was absent from Saturday's ceremony because he reported for duty with the Ohio National Guard on May 31.