Elida High School graduates, from left, Mari Lopez, Jewlie Paiz and Steven Russell hold hands as they watch the class video Friday during the EHS commencement. (Freedom Newspapers: Karl Terry)
By Paula Cronic: Freedom Newspapers
ELIDA — A night of remembering, honoring and celebrating the high school careers of the six Elida High School seniors had some of the graduates and few audience members shedding tears.
The ceremony, which included Secretary of Education Veronica Garcia as guest speaker and a senior video of the graduates from childhood to present day, became emotionally charged as the evening went on.
“I don’t think there’s a better place to go to school,” said valedictorian Tori Bilberry, who has attended school in Elida since kindergarten. Bilberry said it felt great to finally be graduating.
Mari Lopez said she’s excited to be moving on but will always have her memories on which to reflect.
“I’ve been here since the first grade, so I’ll remember coming to school with my friends and the good times we had with each other,” said Lopez
In her speech, Bilberry challenged her classmates to be the best they could be. She also dared them to strive to become what they hope to become in the future. As for herself, she said she wants to become as a good of a woman as her mother.
She ended her speech saying, ‘whatever we sew we will eventually reap.’
Garcia, who told the audience her first job in the educational field was as a substitute teacher, reminded the students that it’s not what you do, but how you do it.
“Sometimes you have to work your way up,” Garcia said.
She mentioned people had asked her why she was going to Elida to speak to just six students and said her response was it didn’t matter if the graduating class is six or 600, each one of them is our future.
The senior video allowed the audience some more insight into the lives of students and showcased their unique qualities.
High school principal Donna Tivis, who read the biographies of the students, became emotional as she listed their accomplishments. Some of the graduates teared up as well.