LAMPASAS — With a turn of their graduation tassels and caps tossed up in the air, 214 Lampasas High School seniors received their diplomas Friday night after receiving words of advice from the top students.

“In four short years, we’ve learned what it means to have perseverance,” said Carley Carpenter, valedictorian. “We’ve learned a loyalty known only to small towns, surrounding each other with love and support when our community is grieving.”

Carpenter’s grandmother, who was the valedictorian of her graduating class, gave her advice on her speech and told her to be “short and sweet” when she addressed the class.

Carpenter became emotional as she remembered a friend who never made it to graduation day.

“Although most of my classmates are with me tonight on Badger Field, I would like to take a moment to remember one particular classmate who’s here in our hearts,” she said. “Olivia Everhart will always be remembered by those of us at Lampasas High School. She was a sweet girl who left the world with her smile.”

Everhart died in a car crash in 2011.

Carpenter, who plans to attend Texas A&M, said God has a plan for everyone.

“As we leave tonight, I hope we can take the real world in stride and stay true to yourselves and your beliefs,” she said. “I hope you are excited for the future and not pining in the past, but don’t be afraid to live in the present, too.”

Salutatorian Beau Webb also congratulated his peers and recalled favorite moments from his school days, such as always trying to be first in line for lunch in the cafeteria.

“None of you would be here if it were not for the time and effort that you put forth in the last 12 years,” he said. “But we made it.”

Webb, who will attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, thanked parents, teachers, the school board and the community.

“It is because of you that the class of 2013 will forever be remembered as the first class to attend all four years in the new and beautiful Lampasas High School building,” he said.

After students were presented their diplomas, Cathleen Michelle Garczynski gave closing remarks, reminding her classmates their hard work was not in vain.

“The caffeine-driven, last minute projects, the homework we scrambled to finish the morning it was due, and the almost sleepless nights of studying … who knew it would actually pay off?” she said.

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