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Riverside valedictorian: Conquer obstacles

Moving forward past graduation, student Kristen Newland spoke to her classmates during Friday evening’s commencement exercises at Riverside High School about how they can overcome obstacles in their future lives.


Riverside High School Class of 2013 President Morgan Robison moves a bucket full of roses Friday evening during graduation. Each pupil in the class placed a rose in the bucket in memory of their classmate Kameron Millice, who died in a automobile crash in 2010. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)

The class valedictorian encouraged them not to let various problems and what people say or think to get in their way of achieving their goals.

“Brick walls are there for a reason: They let us prove how bad we want things,” she said, quoting the late Randy Pausch, a professor who suffered from pancreatic cancer and co-authored The Last Lecture that has become a New York Times bestseller.

Kristen told her peers that there is “a strength deep inside of us and it does not break for walls... It allows us to prove to everyone how strong we have become.”

Also during her speech, Kristen thanked their “teachers that have taught us, inspired us and been there for us every step of the way. Where would we be now without everything that you all have done?”

Heather Comer and Cherish Lauderback also were honored as the class salutatorians. Rounding out the top 10 students are Morgan Robison, Grant Miller, Meagan Lattimer, Karli Lump, Mara Ledley, Taylor Anderson and Jonathan Wheeler.

A total of 56 students received their diplomas, with their names read by class president Morgan Robison.

A moment of silence was offered during the presentation of diplomas for the late Kameron Millice, a member of the Class of 2013 who died in 2010 as a result of an automobile crash.

“Kameron will always be remembered by the smile on his face,” Morgan said.

When the graduates entered the gymnasium, they also placed roses in a bucket in memory of their classmate.

Pastor Bill Halter of Maplewood United Methodist Church, also a history teacher at the school, offered the invocation and benediction for the ceremony. He is retiring from teaching in September after 25 years at Riverside. 

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