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May 23, 2014

DHS seniors arrive with goldfish, leave as graduates

DUNCAN — As Duncan High School seniors crossed the stage during Thursday’s graduation, many carried bags of water and fish, a gag gift passed off to Principal Justin Smith.

This was Smith’s first year as high school principal, having stepped up from two years as assistant principal. And for each year, the seniors also provide the principal with a gag gift. Smith was provided with dozens of aquatic friends and some that came in cheddar cheese cracker form.

The DHS Class of 2014 moved closer to their futures, making it through their commencement ceremony without difficulty.

Senior Jesse Hare, who was this year’s Crossman Award winner, expressed his gratitude to the friends he made at Duncan High, while telling his peers of the great things that lay ahead of them.

“When I look at the 2014 graduating class, I see people with the capacity and will to change the world around them,” Hare said. “Our world needs world changers. You must never forget the change you seek dwells inside you.

“I look back on the past four years with nothing but fondness. Good luck and God speed.”

As students crossed stage, they exchanged their fish for their diplomas.

Superintendent Sherry Labyer and assistant superintendents Rodney Calhoun and Merry Stone rotated to change the side from which the tassel hung from each senior’s cap. With a simple move of the tassel, the administration recognized the seniors’ graduation from the high school.

Sydney Henricks, class president, welcomed her peers, their families and their friends. And through her speech, Henricks recognized the milestone as a celebration, a move in a positive direction for the students.

“All of the years have led to this moment,” Henricks said. “This is a celebration of our accomplishments.”

Patrick Sullivan, Student Council president, acknowledged the impact the people cheering from the stands have made on each senior. Among those recognized by Sullivan were the senior parents.

For Sullivan, the learning that took place at Duncan High was an extension of the early years, as parents taught the students to walk and talk. And as the students set to embark on new adventures and move forward with their lives, Sullivan recognized the contributions of the parents.

“Our parents taught us to be ourselves, respect others,” he said. “We hope to become the young men and women you will be proud to call your own.”

As the celebration wound down, Smith was left with several boxes of goldfish bags and packages of Goldfish crackers.

English teacher Sandra Hurst, senior sponsor, said Smith intends to keep the fish to share with his young daughter and to put in horse troughs for algae control.

“They’re going to a good home,” Hurst said.

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