BURNSIDE - As Southeast Webster Grand began its graduation ceremonies Sunday the sky outside was gray and dim. By its end, the skies had cleared for the shining sun.
Tears, however, remained a constant as 30 seniors, the class of 2013, received their diplomas and completed high school.
According to Rich Wagner, SWG principal, the entire class graduated.
The 13 senior members of the SWG concert choir give a farewell performance Sunday to their school and peers, singing “Carry On” before graduating.
"It's both nice and it's both sad," he said, of the day. "I hate to see them go, but I'm happy for them."
Launi Dane, SWG superintendent, welcomed family, friends, staff and administration to the 2013 commencement program.
"This class may be small, but it is mighty," Dane said. "I have enjoyed watching all of these students grow over the past few years into fine young adults."
Dane congratulated the class of 2013, and offered inspiring words as they headed toward their individual futures.
"As you move from one important milestone to another, please remember to thank the people who helped you along the way," she said. "There may have been times when what they said to you, you did not agree with. But keep in mind, everything is for a reason. Someday, you may understand that reason."
Caitlin Pace, an honor student, spoke for her class, delivering the commencement address. She recalled their preschool graduation.
"It's been a long time, hasn't it?" Pace said. "Back then we were all about three feet tall, and at least half of us were going to be policemen, firemen or doctors when we grew up. The boys all thought the girls had cooties and the girls all thought the same of boys."
Pace remarked that she and her fellow graduates have grown in the years since, discovering their identities, and thanks to their education were prepared now for tomorrow.
"Back then, we faced the beginning of a new, exciting chapter of our lives. School," she said. "And now we face another new beginning. The rest of our lives."
Pace concluded with a brief recitation, echoing back to a rhyme from preschool.
"Now you see us standing here before you, proud and tall," she said. "Believe me when I say, we owe it all to you. Thank you."
Class President Luke Hainzinger provided the closing remarks.
"I can not think of a better group of people to walk hand-in-hand with," he said, of his class. "I would like to thank everyone for coming and our teachers for putting up with us."
The ceremony ended some advice to the next graduating class.
"Whatever life throws at you, just remember, I'm pulling for you," Hainzinger said. "We're all in this together."