Through the years, students in Hayden High School's Class of 2005 have grown distinct personalities. Collectively, their characters have set their class apart from the crowd.
To prove it, salutatorian Margie Jones on Sunday addressed the unique qualities of each classmate during graduation.
Barely holding back tears, she spoke about the drama queens and the quiet ones, the gentlemen and the optimists; students challenging adversity and brightening the hallways with smiles and those who are true to themselves regardless of others' opinions.
"Without every one of us here, nothing would be the same," she said.
Thirty-eight Hayden graduates, donning orange caps and black robes, celebrated the conclusion of high school and the beginning of the "real world" with a packed gym of parents, friends, teachers and administrators.
Guest speaker Shawn Baum--gartner, a teacher and coach at the high school, did his best to answer perhaps the most paramount questions on young graduates' minds: What is success, and how do you know if you've achieved it?
An experienced athlete and coach, Baumgartner emphasized that success is not about winning or losing but about persistence and picking yourself up after every fall.
"True success is peace of mind that you did the best you are capable of doing," he said. "Success is a lifelong process you'll continually try to obtain."
Many Hayden students already have had a good taste of success, if the huge pile of scholarships is any indication.
School counselor Danica Moss proudly announced that the class together garnered almost $155,000 in free college cash from local organizations, businesses and college-based programs.
"Isn't this fun? I love giving away money," Moss said as she announced the scholarship winners.
Recipients included valedictorian Lauren Branstetter, who received more than $39,000 in scholarships, and Evan Hilling, who was awarded more than $31,000. Jones received more than $26,000, and Chris Frentress walked away with more than $19,000.
The scholarships were a hint as to why staff and administrators have coined the students the "golden class."
"See what I was saying?" principal Troy Zabel asked after the scholarship announcements. "They are going to be a tough act to follow."
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org