FLORENCE — With air horns blowing, cow bells ringing and confetti littering the air, Florence High School seniors celebrated graduation Friday night.

Friends and family packing Stampede Stadium remarked at how abnormally large this year’s graduating class was. The Class 3A school has 336 students filling the hallways, with a 2013 graduating class of 75.

The purple-robed seniors beamed with smiles as they took their seats.

“Our class is really hard to describe, we all have exceptional heart, and are overflowing with excitement and impatience,’” said valedictorian Leslie Fillip.

“I remember I was 6 years old when I first noticed that I would be a 2013 high school graduate. ... The class of 2013 was irrelevant to me when I was 6, but the impending date always grew closer,” Fillip said. “I thought this year would drag on, but I was mistaken.”

The volleyball player, FFA member and future chemical engineering student at the University of Texas ended her address by thanking her parents “for pushing her,” and with a smile on her face, thanking her teachers for “making all of us do things we might not have wanted to.”

Salutatorian and soon-to-be law student at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Madison Martin, described how much the class of 2013 has changed over the past four years.

“Change is defiantly upon us. The last four years has brought change upon each and every one of us; we are now all functioning members of society,” Martin said.

With diplomas in hand, the ceremony was capped by a farewell speech from Florence senior Matthew Mellette.

“Over the last four years there is one phrase I have heard over and over again: ‘I can’t wait to get out of this town.’ … But soon, very soon, we’ll run out of money, food and clean laundry. We’ll be back,” Mellette said.

Mellette ended on a serious note, thanking his parents and teachers, and wishing his fellow students the best of luck.

“Life will pull us in different directions, but we will always be connected by the time we spent at Florence. I know someday we’ll come back, whatever the reason, I know there will come a day when we say to ourselves, I can’t wait to go back home.”

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