Prepared to take their first steps in the next chapter of their lives, 73 Tucumcari High School graduates were reminded that they are the future.
As the music played, the graduates began to file one by one into the Snake Pit Friday night.
Senior Dalton Wood was once again at the end of the line of his classmates on their final day as Rattlers.
“It’s not too bad,” Wood said. “You get used to it over the years. There is one upside, today, when we leave the Snake Pit, I will be the first out of the doors and not the last.”
Megan McKinney’s salutatorian address touched on the experiences she and her classmates had shared along the way to their graduation.
McKinney opened her speech with a quote from Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go,” McKinney said.
McKinney told the seniors life after graduation would be one filled with uncertainty. She said over the years they had made friends and learned valuable lessons from their parents and teachers which would help them along the way.
“What we have learned will help us to succeed,” McKinney said.
Sagar Parikh’s valedictorian address was focused on reminding the seniors they control their own destinies.
However, Parikh’s speech was interrupted for a moment as a stray balloon floated across stage and in front of the graduates.
The balloon offered a moment of comical relief and reinforced Parikh’s point that, at times, nothing goes as planned.
The Rattler graduates would next hear from their guest speaker, Hank Baskett.
“You are mine and this nation’s future,” Baskett said.
Baskett said the graduates were not only starting the rest of their lives, they were going to be responsible for shaping the future.
“Your choices will have consequences,” Baskett said. “The success in your life will be affected by your choices.”
Baskett said that if the graduates made poor choices they would have to learn to live with those consequences.
“You have been told since you were young make the right choice,” Baskett said. “Those words were spoken to you by your parents, family and teachers, all in an effort to prepare for today and what follows tomorrow: life.”
Baskett said having a goal in life and setting a value on that goal is important.
“No matter how great the cost you never give up on your goal,” Baskett said. “Sometimes people will think that’s to high of a price to pay to achieve my goal.”
Baskett said the graduates should never lower the value of their goal or settle for less.
“If you pursue your goals and achieve them, your life will be richer, no matter how high the cost,” Baskett said.