Inclement weather could not keep the community from Potter’s House on Thursday night to watch the 408 members of Waxahachie High School’s class of 2007 receive their diplomas.
With heads held high and smiles from ear to ear, the exuberant seniors marched into the gigantic auditorium to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance.”
A welcome was extended by senior class vice president Christine Piwonka, followed by a moment of silence and the introduction of platform guests by Tarrah Carr, senior class secretary.
Recognition of graduates’ families and faculty members was given by Christen Baker, senior class treasurer; Tara Bamburg, senior class tech specialist; Eric Stinson, senior class advisory board member; Meaghan Moore, senior class advisory board member; and Chris Jenkins, senior class advisory board member.
Student council president Austin Keeler recognized senior English teacher Edmond Gomez as “Most Inspirational Faculty Member,” saying Gomez is a teacher who challenges his students to excel by being “willing to raise the bar.”
Special recognitions were given to honor students, students who had perfect attendance, students who excelled in the National Honor Society and one student, Will Zimmerman, was recognized for already completing his associate’s degree at Navarro College.
The WHS A Cappella Choir, under the direction of Gail Stutts, performed the song, “May You Go Forth in Love.”
High school counselor Christie Noonkester introduced Jillian Van Zandt, who presented the salutatorian address. Van Zandt challenged her classmates to “take great care for your studies, but have the time of your life.”
She went on to tell them to “make your life your own - don’t just become an architect just because your parents want you to; don’t just date someone because your friends insist that you do - and if you screw up, own up to it and deal with it.”
Noonkester then introduced valedictorian Thomas Schaffer, who advised his peers to “use intelligence to make decisions without compromising integrity” and to “find courage to pursue that which makes you happy.”
Senior class president Parker Thompson gave his farewell address, describing life as a book, with many different stories being told through many different lives.
“For today, all our stories come together as one. Then the slate is wiped clean, and we will then embark upon a new day and a new life, and take time to meet the person whom we see in the mirror,” he said, urging his classmates, “Don’t forget the past, but don’t continue to live in it.”
Principal David Nix presented the candidates for graduation, and school board president Dr. Joe Langley awarded the diplomas.
The A Cappella Choir led the crowd in the alma mater, “Waxahachie High,” followed by the recessional, “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Afterward, the large foyer of the Potter’s House was filled to capacity with families posing with their graduates for snapshots. Graduates were seen tearfully embracing each other. Some held long-stemmed roses and balloons bearing the words, “Congrats, grads.”
While still wearing caps and gowns, the majority of the graduating class could be seen afterward with cellular telephones held up to their ears and Blackberries in hand, no doubt trying to connect with their friends and planning to meet at the Waxahachie Civic Center for a night of fun at Project Graduation.