Nearly 200 seniors collected their diplomas at Warren High School's 54th annual graduation ceremony Friday evening.
The Class of 2014 proceeded through Dyson Baudo Recreation Center at Marietta College as some of their final steps as high schools students.
With each student adorning a red and green ribbon in memory of their late classmate Danielle Church, who died in an April ATV accident, the theme of the evening reflected the idea of working toward the future.
JACKIE RUNION The Marietta Times
Members of the Warren High School Class of 2014 proceed into Dyson Baudo Recreation Center Friday evening for the school’s 54th annual graduation exercises.
"I've never been so elated in all my life," said Braxton Harter, who graduated with an honors diploma and National Honor Society honors. "I'm moving out in two days to take aviation classes, so it's all real now."
Harter said though he is anxious to get started on summer classes at Middle Tennessee State University, he is going to miss his friends the most.
Graduates entered the room to the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance" tune, but were also welcomed in by a series of songs by senior band and choir members.
Warren High School Class
School Colors: Blue and silver.
Class Flower: White Rose.
Class Motto: "Nothing we do changes the past, everything we do changes the future!"
Class Song: "No Such Thing"-John Mayer
Salutatorians: Evan French, Kendra Lynch, Mariah Stollar, Ellen Williams.
Valedictorians: Alison Morey, Molly Simich.
"I'm nervous, but I'm also excited because it's a new step for all of us, and I'm glad I'm doing it with all of them," said Gillian Amrine, who will be attending Ohio University in the fall to study sociology and criminology. "I can't wait to start."
Valedictorian Alison Morey, who will be attending the University of Findlay for pre-veterinary studies, called on her classmates to stay positive.
"A positive mentality has a certain magic to it," she said. "The moment we decide to succeed is the moment we start to improve."
Superintendent Kyle Newton spoke at graduation for the first time as superintendent, and encouraged seniors to soak up the day and enjoy it.
"I'm so excited that this class we will be our future leaders, parents and community members," he said.
Those future leaders included 24 seniors graduating with honors diplomas, along with four salutatorians and two valedictorians.
"These memories and experiences have shaped us into who we are today," said Mariah Stollar, a class salutatorian. "I hope this journey was everything you dreamed it would be, and I wish you all luck on your next one."
Ellen Williams, another one of the Class of 2014 salutatorians, will be attending Xavier University in the fall to study chemistry with the plan to go on to medical school.
"I'm excited and ready to be done with this part of my life," she said. "We've been here for four years and it's time to move on."
Williams expressed that because it truly takes years to really get to know someone, it is her senior year she will miss most.
"When we got here we didn't really know each other, and now that we're seniors, we all know each other the best," she said. "That's what I'll miss the most."