Friday, March 23, 2018

Valedictorian Mei Li Stevens presents her speech at the 2017 graduation ceremony, where she encouraged students to “try new things even if it scares you.” Stevens plans on running track on a collegiate level at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.

‘Don’t sell yourself short’

84 students graduate from Hardin High School
Eighty-four Hardin High School seniors started a new chapter in their lives Sunday afternoon following their 2017 graduation ceremony. The gym was filled with parents and students who gathered together to celebrate the event.
After the seniors marched to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the high school symphonic band, Principal Rob Hankins gave an opening speech, addressing the crowd and welcoming Valedictorian Mei Li Stevens to the podium.
“Do something that excites you, try new things even if it scares you,” Mei Li said to her class. “Don’t sell yourself short. Go and be successful because if you can survive Hardin High School, you can do whatever you want.”
In her speech, Salutatorian Guan Yin Stevens, Mei Li’s twin sister, thanked all of the parents, teachers and coaches who had helped their class through high school. She also mentioned that high school can be both good and bad.
“[We bond] with classmates by either failing together or passing together,” she said. “High school can be a great time and a terrible time; a trip of laughter and some tears.”
Both of the Stevens twins plan on running track at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.
After the twins had finished, seniors Ashley Uffelman and Dillon Dominguez performed the song “Oceans,” a tune by Hillsong United on having faith while entering the unknown, with Uffelman singing and Dominguez on guitar. They received a large round of applause from the audience.
Student body president Brittney Schaff gave a speech to the senior class, about working hard, using a quote by minister and motivational speaker Eric Thomas. 
“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe,” the quote states, “then you’ll be successful.”
Guest speaker Linda McClanahan, the school health teacher, gave advice to the class of 2017. According to her, students are not entitled to everything in life and need to work hard for their goals. 
“You need to get what you need before you get what you want,” she said. “You also have to be satisfied with what you have and work for what you want.”
She told students to never give up on their dreams, and that all of the seniors have the same opportunities in life. McClanahan also told the class to “look up from their phones for once,” throwing her phone across the stage to emphasize her point.
The ceremony concluded with the seniors moving their caps’ tassels to the right, symbolizing their graduation. As they left the stage, the band played them out with “Hail to the Varsity,” the Hardin High School song.