GOWRIE - Even though graduation may be the last time the Prairie Valley High School class of 2013 would be together as a whole, the memories they have from the past 13 years will keep them together no matter where life takes them.
That was the message class speakers Jaclyn Rittgers and Jerald Johnson gave as they addressed their 59 fellow graduates, teachers, family and friends during their graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon.
"It seems like yesterday we learned many of the valuable lessons life has to offer, but the learning didn't end in kindergarten," said Rittgers.
Newly graduated senior Jerry Johnson, left, gives a thumbs up as he poses for a photo with classmate Bailey Walrod following graduation at Prairie Valley High School Sunday afternoon.
Rittgers focused on the class' accomplishments and encouraged her classmates to never forget where they came from.
"We have accomplished a lot, but those accomplishments didn't come without struggles," she said. "We've learned to remember, to remember the good times and the bad and all that Prairie Valley has taught us. I hope we don't get too caught up in our daily lives that we don't remember to sit back, relax and have fun. As we move forward we will be able to succeed."
Each member of the class has developed their own sets of morals and values over the past 13 years, which has helped them all become unique individuals, Rittgers said.
"We've learned we can make a big difference," she said. "We've learned to remember, have fun, be responsible, and become individuals. Though this may be the last time our class is together as a whole, all we really need to know we learned at Prairie Valley."
Johnson recalled moments from elementary school, middle school and finally getting to high school.
"I remember going to middle school and feeling like we were at the bottom of the totem pole," said Johnson. "Then we finally got to eighth grade and we were the top dogs of the middle school. When we made it to high school I remember getting lost and making new friends with upperclassmen."
Traditional to Prairie Valley graduations, the chorus and bands performed songs, a senior video featuring highlights of their school years and each graduate's baby picture was played and every graduate received a flower to present to their parents after receiving their diploma.
Dennis Hammen, PVHS principal said the class of 2013 has been a good group of students with a lot to offer.
"They have been a special group," said Hammen. "They have brought a lot of talents to our district in many ways. I have been very proud to be a part of this group."
As Johnson closed his speech, he compared the class to a family.
"We are more than just classmates," he said. "We're a family. No matter where we go we will always be Warriors."