Under each of the 34 chairs set up on the stage inside the gymnasium of
The roses were intended for the traditional "flower exchange," a part of the short ceremony that recognizes the bonds created throughout the graduating class, large in size this year compared to others.
"It's just a tradition,"
The tradition started sometime during the 1990s, according to English teacher
Once presented with a rose, a hug, and, at times, lots of tears, the offering student reached up to flip the tassel of their recipient signifying their official commencement.
"It's really awesome," said 2006 graduate
Music for the ceremony included the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance," Sarah McLachlan and the schools own "Nute Beloved, Hail to Thee." But, it was the flower exchange that remained the most distinct part of the already unique Nute experience.
Goodwin, who is also a paraprofessional at the high school, delivered the commencement speech to students he's worked with since their middle school years.
"While chasing your dreams, reminding soon-to-be-graduates that at times during their post-Nute lives they will fall, "remember the times you were able to get back up."
Goodwin delivered the commencement speech to students dressed in white and purple caps and gowns and tassel of gold and purple, about to embark on the rest of their lives.
With the young adults, many of whom received scholarships and awards, Goodwin also said,"thank goodness we go to a small school."
Though he was honest about the challenges that await graduates, he compelled them to look back on their time at
"Remember after that last play, that sound of people who were proud of you?" he asked. "You will hear that sound again."
Quoting a line from Mufasa in The Lion King, he told students to "remember who you are."
Remaining in step as they exited, students bolted toward friends and family as they entered the hallway.
Skillings will go on to obtain his CDL license, though he's undecided about where.
"I'm obviously going to miss all my friends," said
Students weren't the only ones proud of their accomplishments on the bittersweet evening.
"It's a relief and a lot of mixed emotions,"
"Now she can do her thing," said
Delivering a succinct ending to his speech, Goodwin left students with the following words before the presentation of diplomas.
"On your mark. Get set. Go!"
The following are members of the 2014 graduating class at
The * denotes
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