BELTON —With words of inspiration and gratitude, 501 Killeen High School seniors earned diplomas Saturday, celebrating a story they shared together and moving on to the future.

The top graduates of the class thanked their families, teachers and friends and urged classmates to consider their common story together and to charge on to a new adventure.

Salutatorian Allison Fox acknowledged that many of the classmates dressed in identical maroon caps and gowns didn’t know one another, but she said “we have this in common.”

The second-ranked academic student in the class pointed out that while they represent great diversity, they share the accomplishments of the past four years. “Killeen High School will always be part of our story,” she said.

Valedictorian William Duran spoke of fear that became confidence.

He recalled as a freshman worrying about where to sit at lunch and how to talk to a girl. But, as time went by, he said he grew in confidence.

“Fear caused failure to act,” he said, pointing out that trying and failing is superior to never trying at all out of fear of failure.

“I ask you to live and to chase your dreams,” Duran said. “The only way to learn about life is to live it and be a part of the adventure.”

In the assembly hall prior to entering the Bell County Expo Center arena, top graduates said they were ready to embrace the important milestone in their lives.

“I’m excited and a little nervous,” said Fox. “This part of life is part of a story we have in common.” She said she would remember Killeen High School for the many friends and teachers who helped her on her way.

“I’m ready to go,” said Duran, who said he would remember his friends and days of time together in class and in the hallways and in social and learning settings.

“I’m really excited,” said Roy Allen, also a top-10 graduate of the class. “It was hard work to get here. I’ll always remember my friends and the bonds we made together.”

Among the many planning their next stage of life was KHS athletic trainer Al “Doc” Wilson, who said the graduation ceremony was his final duty capping a 57-year career in KISD.

“They’re saying they’re going to miss me,” he said of the students in the Class of 2018. The longtime trainer said he graduated from Hamilton High School in 1957, a point that seemed to bring symmetry to his own 57 years of service.

The Killeen High School graduation followed the Shoemaker High School graduation ceremony. Today, Ellison and Harker Heights high schools celebrate commencement ceremonies at the Expo Center.

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