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Graduates throw their caps at the end of the May 14 ceremony in Koch Arena. More than 200 students graduated.

Hats off to Valley Center’s Class of 2017
By Chris Strunk
Last Updated: May 25, 2017

This class put itself in the spotlight.

The Valley Center High School Class of 2017 had the most valedictorians in school history with 19. And it is credited with setting the bar high in music, drama, academics and sports.

For those reasons and more, the class was celebrated May 14 during commencement inside Koch Arena on the Wichita State University campus.

"Everybody can do everything and they can do it good. … That's what makes it so special," said Omar Rodriguez, president of the graduating class.

Superintendent Cory Gibson called it a "talented and compassionate group of young men and young women."

About 200 seniors turned their tassels, threw their hats in the air and became Valley Center High School alumni during the nearly one and one-half ceremony.

"This is simply one step along the road to success," Gibson said.

Principal Jamie Lewis thanked family and friends as well as school staff for supporting and encouraging students during their high school careers.

"It is through varied levels of support that we experience success," he said.

Valedictorian Corbin Alderson encouraged fellow graduates to celebrate their achievements.

"We are all here today ready to start a new chapter of our lives," he said. "… We have created bonds and shared memories together that will never fade."

Alderson said the most important thing the class learned was "how to be one of the best classes that has ever walked through the halls of Valley Center High School."

"We have set records in many sports, like track and basketball, and have completely reshaped Valley Center's football program," Alderson said. "Groups like madrigals and band have garnered numerous awards. … Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Happiness is my goal, but greatness is my mission."

Valedictorian Trace Tobin said Valley Center High School gave students many opportunities to learn.

"That's what makes us such a unique school," he said. "… These activities have helped shape us into who we are today."

Tobin said Valley Center doesn't just create "great students."

"Valley Center creates great citizens," he said. "… It's time to go. … Fly high, graduates. Let's go."

Valedictorian Kristina Lay said graduates can show appreciation to their family and to the school by "becoming the best we can in our futures."

Lay said every assignment, game and contest taught students valuable lessons, giving them a chance to learn and grow.

"The best part is we've all done it together," she said. "Class of 2017, we are a family. … Although we are all going separate ways, we are still a family."

The Valley Center High School concert band played the processional and recessional.

Blake Hawkins, student body president, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the seniors in madrigals sang the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Graduates Ashlyn Reece sang "I Lived," accompanied on guitar by graduate Delaney Curry.

Other valedictorians were Hannah Arneson, Ethan Bauguess, Don Boone, Madison Breault, Jadyn Eddy, Davinna Farney, Trent Gierhart, Caleb Isaacs, Ashlyn Jacobs, Ashlyn Joyal, Zakery Keith, LaTaylah Perez, Alex Schul, Abigail Sheahan, Jaidyn Stokes and Sarah Wolfe.

Salutatorians were Miranda Dessenberger, Madylin Elsner, Emily Klusener and Derek Schrag.

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