A record crowd of family, friends and well-wishers attended Marietta High School's 160th annual commencement exercises in the Dyson-Baudo Recreation Center at Marietta College Sunday evening.
"This is my third commencement and by far the largest crowd I've seen. We ran out of programs," MHS Principal Bill Lee said following Sunday's event.
A total of 204 graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas during the ceremonies.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Marietta High School grads Matthew Roberts and Kealy Parrish share a moment following Sunday’s 160th commencement exercises at Marietta College’s Dyson-Baudo Recreation Center.
Lee shares a bit of wit and wisdom with every graduating class.
"We have three basic rules; show up, get your work done, and follow the rules," he said. "And I tell them life is tough, but it's a lot tougher if you're stupid."
During remarks earlier in the program, Lee said the MHS Class of 2012 had generated more than $2.2 million for themselves in scholarships and awards.
Marietta High Class of 2012:
Valedictorian: Daniel Haught
Salutatorians: Timothy Grosel and Margaret Harrison
Class motto: "You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."
He said one of the highest scholarship amounts went to Valedictorian Daniel Haught.
"This young man in the naval ROTC program is going to Texas A&M University and just received a check in the mail for $180,000," Lee said.
Haught urged his fellow graduates to continue striving to do their best.
"We thank the educators, parents and grandparents who have been with us," he said. "And we say good luck without us to the Class of 2013 and congratulations to the Class of 2012."
Lee also recognized 35 students who graduated with honors during Sunday's commencement.
The crowd moved outside where grads joined their friends and families following the commencement exercises.
Graduate Amanda Styer of Marietta was a little ambivalent as she met her family outside the recreation complex.
"I kind of feel lost," she said. "It will be weird not seeing everyone every day at school."
But Styer added that she's moving on, planning to begin a surgical technician course at the Washington County Career Center in the fall.
Christian Sims also had plans beyond high school.
"I want to become a physical therapist-everyone in my family works in the medical field, and I really enjoy helping people, so I'll be a student at Washington State Community College this fall," he said.
MHS grad Wes Cline said he'll attend WSCC, too.
"I plan to study mechanical engineering and want to go into a field where I can do drafting," he said. "But I also want to move on and get my master's in mechanical engineering."
Kealy Parrish is headed for the U.S. Navy's Great Lakes training facility in August.
"I'll be training to become a hospital corpsman," she said. "And this summer I'll continue my job as an aide at Heartland (extended care facility in Devola)."
Asked how she felt on finally making it to graduation day, Parrish said she, too, will miss the school and friends she's come to know.
"I'm relieved to have my diploma, but graduation is bittersweet for me," she said.
Classmate and friend Matthew Roberts was glad to be moving on.
"Today I'm more excited to be finally done with this," he said. "It's another big step on the way to college."
Roberts will attend the University of Evansville, Indiana, on a scholarship this fall, and will be working as a lifeguard at the Devola pool through the summer.