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BLACKFOOT â€” Heartfelt were the remarks expressed at the commencement ceremony at Independence High School on Thursday evening.
Twenty-nine graduates marched across the stage at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center to receive their diplomas before a proud and appreciative audience.
"The teachers are Independence are flat out amazing," said class speaker Angelica Longoria. "They will take their time to help you until you understand.
"They believed in me," she said.
"[Her teacher] Becky taught me to face my challenges and achieve my goal," said Longoria. "[Her teacher] Travis inspired me to go to college so I can achieve my goal to be in law enforcement.
"Teachers and friends pushed my to do what I never though would happen," she said.
To her classmates, Longoria said, "Move forward and never quit. Bigger and better things are out thereâ€”that's your future."
Honor student Amy Gonzalez said, "People don't realize how awesome and loving this school is.
"I have had many opportunities here," she said.
"This is my second home," said Gonzalez. "My teachers and my family pushed me through school."
Speaker Lisa Parmenter challenged the graduates to "set high expectations.
"In order to succeed, we need to expect more," she said. "Remember who you are and what you stand for.
"Failure is not an option," said Parmenter.
Teacher Dan Grimes also spoke to the graduates. He used two stories to get across these points:
Â° You can't stop because things are hard.
"How can I not complete my 20-mile run just because it was raining hard when a man with one leg would probably like to be doing what I was doing?" Grimes asked.
Â° You have a choice to make when you have been labeled by someone or if you have labeled yourself.
"You can become your label or you can become whatever you want to become," Grimes said.
"Achieve what you want to achieve but you can't quite when it rains," he said.
Speaking to the families, Independence principal Mark Kartchner, "Thank you for what you do for your kids; your kids are better off for it."