Seventy-six high school seniors became alumni of West Liberty High School Sunday, May 28.
Karla Velasco and Tye Miller were the two students chosen to address their classmates on graduation day.
Velasco started her speech thanking everyone for supporting the Class of 2023.
She said many of the students have been together for 13 years and shared a lot of memories together.
“In elementary school we were all super excited to go to school so that we could all show off our Halloween costumes for the Halloween parade,” she said.
She remembers Preston Daufeldt coming to school in his costume, Velasco added.
There were too many memories to talk about during the graduation ceremony, she said. She also mentioned her classmates being a competitive class and the success from that.
“Throughout high school, we have had our volleyball team go to state three times and our boys’ soccer team recently are three time state qualifiers as well,” Velasco said. “The West Liberty Jazz Band made it to the Iowa State Championship this year for the first time in nearly three decades.”
Velasco also mentioned the success of the FFA program. Twenty-five students went to the national competition last fall and it is ranked 25 out of 8,500 programs nationally.
“These are only a snapshot of recognition of awards and successes that our sports and extracurricular teams have received,” Velasco said. “As a class we are not only competitive but we are fun, ambitious, adventurous, fearless (and) resilient.”
She asked her classmates to keep that competitive spirit and use all the knowledge they received while in school in West Liberty as they enter their next step in life.
Miller congratulated his classmates for their achievements.
“I’m not sure how you all feel but I think leaving high school is one of the most difficult and scary things ever,” Miller said.
As they move on, they will soar no matter what they decide to do, he added. Sometimes they will fall in the process but will get up and try again.
“When you do fall remember we have parents in this room to cheer for us as we journey through time as a class,” Miller added. “As will everyone sitting next to you.”
He told his classmates to be grateful as they started their next chapter in life and to thank them.
Miller and Velasco ended their time on stage together. They were in charge of reading the day’s announcements for six months. When done they would end by telling the joke of the day.
“So we would like to read you all one final joke today,” Miller said.
“What kind of nut is most likely to graduate?” Velasco asked Miller.
“What?” Miller asked.
“An academia nut,” Velasco answered to laughter and applause.
West Liberty High School Principal Brenda Arthur Miller told everyone afterward this is usually how the joke reading went. Someone would get the giggles before they could finish it.
The class motto was “Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.”
The class colors were royal blue and white and the class flower was the white rose.
Salutatorian was Brooklyn Buysse.
Finley Hall was named as Valedictorian.