Savannah Coster, left, and Sierra Windon hug as they line up for commencement Thursday at Kennard-Dale High School.
Savannah Coster, left, and Sierra Windon hug as they line up for commencement Thursday at Kennard-Dale High School. (Bill Kalina photo)

Rain moved Kennard-Dale High School's graduation to the school's gym on Thursday, with family and friends carrying umbrellas as they went inside, and some audience members being sent to overflow seating in the auditorium.

Superintendent Rona Kaufmann encouraged the 223 graduates in gold and blue robes to be life-long learners, inventors, be the best they can be, and challenge the status quo going forward.

School board member Tonia Wright was there to support her two daughters, Jasmine and Janae.

She started her speech by comparing the students' need for technology to the girl in an AT&T commercial who said, "We want more." She said that as time went by, the students demanded recognition with their achievements.

Now is the time for the graduates to pass the torch onto the next group of seniors, Wright said. She urged graduates to mentor in their community, volunteer, embrace change, never stop learning, research everything and expect the unexpected.

Life advice: Valedictorian Jessica Wernig quoted her AP English teacher, who taught her to "Live your life like it's on purpose." She urged graduates not to get too caught up in planning for the future, but to instead cherish each moment.

Wernig said it is also important to put down the technology and instead read a book or go outside.

Salutatorian Cecilia Oliveros described her constant anxiety of public speaking and how her joining the drama club taught her how much she loved to act.

She urged graduates got go beyond their comfort zones and to dive into the deep end. She said that everything will work out in the end.

English teacher Edward Smith reminded graduates of a sign that was hanging by the guidance office in their freshman year that said, "Wake up, be awesome."

He told graduates to remember not to "sleep" through life by being caught up with things like money, or to "sleep walk" by expecting life to be easy. He said that in order to be "awake," graduates must remember to do work before play, celebrate success, ask for help when needed and chase their dreams. He said that by doing those things that allow them to "wake up," they will "be awesome."

Kennard-Dale High School Class of 2013

Number of graduates: 223

Graduation ceremony held: June 6 in the gym

Valedictorian: Jessica Wernig

Salutatorian: Cecilia Oliveros

Other speakers: Principal Heather Venné, Superintendent Rona Kaufmann, School Board President Jane Mueller, School Board member Tonia Wright, Edward Smith, President Savannah Heim