MAYO — The 76 members of the Lafayette High School Class of 2019 have reached the finish line.

Or maybe not quite, as valedictorian Case Jackson pointed out in his commencement address.

“We are done, except for those studying for their associates or vocations the next two years, and bachelors the next four years and masters, but again, that’s not the point,” Jackson said. “For one night, we get to celebrate our accomplishments.”

And Jackson pointed out the graduating seniors had plenty of accomplishments to celebrate, from successful campaigns on the fields and courts to a decorated academic class, which included a handful of students in the running for that title of valedictorian.

But Jackson also told his fellow classmates that graduation wasn’t the finish line at all.

“This isn’t the end,” he said. “This isn’t the last time you’re going to see your friends or the end of your glory days.

“Don’t say this is goodbye. Say instead, ‘I’ll see you in 10 years when I’m significantly smarter, funnier and more handsome than I am right now.’”

Gabrielle Perry, the class salutatorian, also said graduation was the start of a new chapter, rather than an ending.

And she told the Class of 2019 that as they move forward, they should choose to be happy, choose friends that make them smile, choose to be kind and choose to be the person that God created them to be.

“Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from pursuing your dreams,” Perry said. “From today forward, you get to decide what you want to do with your life, no one else.

“So, do what you love.”

Also during the graduation ceremony, James Gay was named the LHS honor student for the Class of 2019. The other candidates for the award were Graham Jackson and Caroline Perry.

“I want to congratulate all of the candidates because we’ve all worked hard and excelled during our high school careers,” Gay said. “But we’ve also developed a friendship I will always cherish.”

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