BELTON — Family members, friends and educators gathered Thursday night to watch the Salado Independent School District’s class of 2013 finish high school.

One hundred sixteen seniors walked across the stage during the ceremony at the Frank and Sue Mayborn Campus Center at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

“You made it, and we are so proud of you,” said Burt Smith, Salado High School principal. “You have a unique purpose in life, and a path that’s unique only to you.”

Twenty-seven members of this year’s class attended the Salado district since kindergarten, Smith said.

Salado Superintendent Michael Novotny, now in his second year as the district’s top administrator, also expressed his admiration for the graduates.

“Students like you make my job very enjoyable,” he said.

Novotny encouraged graduates to be thankful for their talents, and advised them to use those talents to help others.

“If you want to be happy, be a positive influence in the lives of others,” he said. “Make a positive difference in the world, no matter how small that difference may seem.”

Students reflected not only on the past four years of high school, but also looked toward their futures.

Class valedictorian Kylie Robinson spoke to her peers about how their choices, and the consequences of those choices, would impact their lives.

“We can either respond positively or negatively to those consequences,” said Robinson, who plans to attend Baylor University in Waco to study biology. “We have the power to choose our response.”

While Thursday night’s ceremony honored the graduates, Smith, Novotny, Robinson and others also acknowledged the efforts of parents, guardians and teachers.

“Without their support through the years, this day would not be possible,” Smith said.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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