FARMINGTON -- Cloudy, rainy-looking skies and cooler temperatures did not affect commencement ceremonies as a nearly packed house at Cardinal Stadium celebrated the Farmington Class of 2023.
The program listed 186 seniors who would walk up the ramp to be recognized by Vice Principal Clayton Williams as a Farmington High graduate and receive their coveted high school diplomas from Principal Jon Purifoy.
Out of these seniors, 30 graduated with superior honors (4.0+ GPA), 23 with high honors, (3.75-3.9 GPA) and 10 with honors (3.5-3.74 GPA).
Zoe Nix served as president for the Class of 2023, and other officers were Carter Moad, vice president; Lindsey Scogin, secretary; Landyn Faught, treasurer; Maddox Mahan and Kamden Petree, representatives.
Nix welcomed seniors to their commencement and said one word came to her when she was thinking about her classmates.
"That word is resilience," she said. "The Oxford Dictionary defines resilience as the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness. That's a great definition."
However, she said the definition fails to include the fact that resilience looks different for everybody.
"My life and the experiences I've had look different than yours. The things you've had to overcome are different than the things I've had to overcome. And yet we're all here on this field celebrating the beginning of the rest of our lives."
She encouraged the seniors to remember the feelings they have now, feelings of accomplishment, hope and pride. When hard times come, she told them to recall these feelings and remember with resiliency, they can overcome.
"I'm incredibly proud to be a part of this class and to have been part of this school. You are all so strong and so capable of achieving anything you want to achieve," Nix concluded.
Purifoy welcomed parents, friends and the community to commencement.
"I speak for myself, faculty and staff of Farmington High School in expressing how proud we are of these fine young men and women. May their successes be plenty as they move forward and do so with a kind heart, a good work ethic and have a positive attitude. May God bless each one of them as they step out into their journey," Purifoy said.
Class valedictorian Wyatt Fournier addressed his classmates with accolades for teachers and staff who made a difference in the lives of the graduates over their 13 years in the Farmington school system.
"You could've disliked many of your teachers or loved them all, and I can say with certainty every student here has had at least one teacher make their lives better, be that inside or outside the classroom," Fournier said, standing on the stage in front of the graduates spread out in chairs in caps and gowns on the football turf.
Teachers made students' lives better because of who they are, not because of a college degree or money, Fournier said.
"They did it because it is what they love to do, and in doing so, have found as much success as anyone might hope for," he added.
As the graduates move on and try to figure how to be succeed, this will look different for each one, Fournier said.
"We will do it in our own way. Some of us will go to college. Some of us will save money, move out, learn a trade, become artists, start our own families or simply do what we love to do, and we will all be succeeding," he said.
Farmington teachers deserve credit for a large part of the students' success in the future, he said.
"So on behalf of all the Class of 2023, we thank every staff member, administrator, and teacher of FHS for everything you've done."
He encouraged the graduates to say "thank you" to friends, teachers and staff one last time before they go.
Salutatorian Naomi Polanski said she did not want to think about "growing up" but instead preferred the term, "growing on."
"Growing on from the grownups we are today, growing on from these past 13 years which have equipped us to go forth into the world," she said.
She added, "Here's to the grownups we are today but more praise to the grownups we will be in 10, 20 or 30 years because of the care we and others have poured into ourselves. Congratulations Class of 2023, may we all grow on from here."
Farmington High School Band opened the ceremony with "Pomp and Circumstance" as the graduates marched into the stadium from the indoor facility. Crimson Select Ensemble performed the National Anthem and later in the ceremony sang "Homeward Bound."