New Franklin math teacher Ryan Lyons delivered the 2013 commencement address for the 32 graduating seniors Sunday afternoon at the New Franklin High School. Lyons speech delivered words of remembrance from the past and prosperity for the future.
Lyons said he remembered when these graduate were very young.
"I still see you as the kids I remember when I was introduced to you in Little League," Lyons said.
Lyons dove into the a more serious section of his speech. He compared the lives of the students to the story of the Lion King. He talked about the Swahili word, hakuna matata, meaning 'no worries.' He compared their lives to being in the jungle before growing up and joining the rest of the world.
"When I was 20 years old I decided that if I did not start living a responsible life, I was not going to graduate college," Lyons said.
Lyons said graduation is the start of a whole new life, a new beginning.
"You have a few more years of hakuna matata that will be very enjoyable. Enjoy the time in the jungle," Lyons said. "When you are setting in that lazy boy and it is time to leave the jungle, it is time to take your place in the circle of life. Embrace the life you are given. Be a blessing in your community."
New Franklin Valedictorian Emily Nicole Hendrix said graduation day is the time to take charge.
"Today marks a change in our lives, from getting a job, paying rent or moving out of the house," Hendrix said.
Hendrix touched on the fact that each student will learn much after graduation, including learning how to cook and doing laundry.
"This is what college is all about. It is a time to take our lives apart and put them back together and decide what type of person we want to be. I know most of our classmates will not admit it, but over the next several years we will change a lot," she said. "Choose a path, take risks. Follow your dreams. Most of all, do not forget where you came from. These people here today are the people who made us who we are and if we forget that, we will forget ourselves."
Hendrix ended with thanking the teachers, staff, school board and most importantly family.
New Franklin High School Principal Benji Dorson read the names of the graduating seniors as New Franklin School Board President Travis Hundley handed the diplomas out.
The students entered the school as a student and an hour later left as a graduate of the New Franklin School District.