Class of 2017 graduates

Taylah Lawton, right, offers a big smile to Caleb Lloyd prior to the start of the Fairmont High School Class of 2017 commencement ceremonies on Sunday.

FAIRMONT — Sunday was a day of celebration for the 101 members of the Fairmont High School Class of 2017, although many blinked back tears when hearing the school song during their commencement ceremonies.

The graduates, their families and guests heard from school administration and classmates, who offered words of encouragement with a note of nostalgia.

Student speaker Mikayla Soelter reminded her fellow graduates that their class was the first to have ID badges, an innovative program that is now commonplace.

“You won’t find yourself getting anywhere in life without taking risks. We have to narrow down our options and take a chance,” she said.

Student speaker Cody Freese challenged his classmates.

“I want each and every one of you to live every day to its fullest,” he said.

Superintendent Joe Brown told the graduates that the comprehensive education, with free college classes and vocational courses, they received at Fairmont High School laid the groundwork for a successful future.

“The sky is the limit on the variety of opportunities each of you have as you leave here today,” Brown said. “But wherever you go, whatever you do, you’ll always be a Fairmont cardinal.”

Kim Niss, FHS principal, explained the difference between a person’s character, the actual way they think, feel and act, and their reputation, which is their beliefs and opinions.

“Building character will be the foundation your personal success is built on,” she said.

The class, which is one of the smallest groups receiving diplomas in recent years, had 47 students graduating with honors. Nine earned highest honors, 16 earned high honors and 22 earned honors.

The FHS concert band, under the direction of Kate Kallenbach, and the concert choir, under the direction of Molly Bleess, provided music for the ceremonies. Graduates were ushered in by Lance Becker, Seth Carlmark, Mallory Gouchanour and Mariah Gochanour. Taylor Nuss, senior class president, announced the roll call as each student received his or her diploma.