By Julia Jones, Correspondent
Processing in to the beat of the Marching 100, the graduating class of Belton High School gathered to celebrate their time in high school and to receive their diplomas.
Six hundred and twelve students graduated from Belton High on Thursday, June 1 at the Bell County Expo Center. Principal Chris duBois stated what made this class different from the others that he’s seen.
“This is an especially talented class and there’s a lot of true camaraderie in this class. They get along so well,” duBois said. “That’s hard for a lot of people to believe with a class of over 600 students but this one has had an esprit de corps that, not that all of our groups don’t to some degree, but this one is a little more saturated.”
The ceremony began with a short welcome by Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon, followed by a prepared video congratulations from Maj. Gen. Paul Funk of Fort Hood. The Belton High School Madrigal led the Star Spangled Banner, senior class president Raquel Frausto welcomed all guests, and salutatorian Hunter Mitchell and valedictorian Mallory Lane addressed the audience.
Mitchell spent his time on stage reminiscing about his time in Belton schools and thanking his teachers and fellow students for shaping him into the person he is today.
“Remember, school isn’t just a place to gain knowledge, but it is a place to discover who you are, a place to learn to believe in yourself, and a place to have the opportunity to make friendships that will last a lifetime. Mitchell said.
Lane took the stage shortly after to challenge how the world perceived her generation and to share a few tips from her mother’s valedictorian speech.
“Our generation seems to have a reputation for feeling entitled,” Lane said. “Some think we’ve lost sight of the value of hard work and only want a participation trophy. I don’t know about you, but I’d like for us to prove these people wrong.”
The hard work put in by the class of 2017 did not go unrecognized. Following Lane’s speech, the students walked the stage and received their diplomas. The ceremony ended with closing remarks from class vice president Cammie Moore and a recessional played by the Marching 100.
Valedictorian Mallory Lane cited her teachers as crucial to her success in school.
“I have not had a bad teacher here at BISD. They’ve all supported me and loved me,” Lane said.
For salutatorian Hunter Mitchell, it was his family that really pushed him to do well.
“I know it’s cliche but I worked hard every day and tried my hardest. My parents really pushed me and taught me to never give up.” Mitchell said.
Lane plans to attend Abilene Christian University and Mitchell plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin.