As Dr. Seuss said, ``You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.''
They were sweltering inside Allen Fieldhouse, but Lawrence High School graduates weren't about to let a little heat, or a few drops of rain, steal their thunder.
For 478 graduates, friends and family, the 124th LHS commencement exercises went off without a hitch.
Seniors Sarah Buxton and Tanyon Harris kicked things off with an a capella rendition of ``The Star Spangled Banner.''
A surprised Buxton was later called back up to the podium upon being named Outstanding Senior as voted by her classmates.
``It makes me feel really good,'' she said on her way to receive her diploma.
Psychology teacher Jim Beltch was named Teacher of the Year, and received his award to the thunderous applause of the graduates.
Lawrence School Board President Mary Loveland, who along with other board members and members of the administration attended both LHS and Free State High graduations, encouraged graduates to thank those around them who helped in their educational experience.
``Go forth from here to face life's challenges with hope,'' she said. ``We are proud of you. We love you.''
Seniors Kizzie Ricks and Rhiannon Meier spoke about moving on and the memories they made during their three years at the school.
Ricks admitted to tearing up when it came to saying goodbye.
``I have memories to last an eternity,'' she said. ``My heart goes out to each and every one of you.''
Ricks said that the seniors entered the school ``frightened'' and left confident.
``We conquered all obstacles,'' she said. ``Don't you think it was worth the trip?''
Meier waxed poetic when it came time to advise her classmates. She quoted Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, and spoke in rhyme.
Quoting Seuss, she said:
``You have brains in your head, and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.''
For many graduates that direction leads down a road away from home.
Senior Allison Unruh is headed for Bethel College in Newton next year, but Sunday she only had thoughts of LHS.
``It's a huge turning point in my life,'' she said. ``I'm the baby of the family, and everyone's very emotional right now. I'm really excited.''
Unruh said she would miss the people she met in high school.
``I loved high school, with all the different people,'' she said.
Matt Caughey agreed.
``I'm seeing some of my friends maybe for the last time,'' he said.
Caughey counted swimming and art classes among his favorite activities and two of the things he will miss next year.
``My art classes helped me get a scholarship,'' he said.
Like Unruh, Caughey was caught up in the moment. His plans after the ceremony were ``to party like crazy, then get a good job for the summer and make some extra money.''
--JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.