When Branford and Suwannee seniors receive their diplomas this weekend, it will mark the end of the school year and the end of graduation season here as Melody Christian and Westwood have both already held their commencements.

But it is not the end of the journey for the Class of 2017.

Rather, their trek is just beginning. Whether the next destination is a university or junior college, the workforce or the armed services, the graduates’ lives are just beginning.

That adds to the excitement that accompanies this time of year as the first step into their lives is now complete.

A milestone has been achieved. A hurdle has been cleared. The work of the past 13 years has paid off.

It is certainly a reason to celebrate. For all involved with getting the graduates to this stage, for it is not something they have attained on their own.

Parents have provided love and support as well as tough love when needed.

Friends have encouraged.

Teachers have inspired as well as providing the knowledge necessary to get to this point.

So, congratulations Class of 2017.

Enjoy the moment with your classmates and friends. Embrace the excitement of your family members. Cherish the memories that you have made along the way. Relish the cheers and applause as you receive those diplomas.

No matter where life may lead you, Suwannee County will always be a part of you. This is home. And we are proud of you.

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