It was a night to remember as 236 Buckhannon-Upshur High School students received their diplomas Friday and took their first steps to adulthood. It was also a night to remember friends.
"We are here to honor and celebrate our graduates," Buckhannon-Upshur High School Principal Robert Wilmoth said."They are now ready to go out on their own."
Wilmoth touted the students for bringing many accolades to the school during their time there.
Wilmoth said through their hard work and dedication they brought good fortunes to the school.
"They have the talents to go into the world and succeed," Wilmoth said.
"The 2012 graduates of Buckhannon-Upshur High School are surely shining tonight," Superintendent of Schools Scott Lampinen said. "Together we celebrate their successes and honors."
"As graduates you will share a bond for the rest of your lives," Lampinen said.
Lampinen congratulated parents and family for the efforts they have put forth to help their students become the young men and women they knew they would become.
The Class of 2012 gave 3,000 volunteer hours during their time in high school and earned $3 million in scholarships and other awards.
"Never underestimate the positive power of a smile and a kind word," Lampinen said. "Our county, state and country is in good hands."
Upshur County Board of Education president Patrick Long told the students that losers fail once and quit, but winners fail and keep on trying.
Senior Scott Stoeckle told his fellow graduates not to be discouraged by the 99 percent who say they can't do it, but rather be encouraged by the one percent who say they can do it.
Martha Johnston, mother of Matthew Johnston, who was killed during his sophomore year in a car accident, served as keynote speaker.
"God always picks me up and carries me through," Johnston said, encouraging the Class of 2012 to think about about the smiles and laughter when they think of her son in the future.
"Focus on the happy times," Johnston said.
"No matter where you are or what you do, pray to God for direction," Johnston said.
"You have one mom and one dad, give them a big hug tonight and thank them," Johnston said.
Johnston shared an experience of going to a Shriner's Ball and meeting a young girl whose bones were so brittle her parents were unable to hug her for fear her bones might break.
"I got to feel my son's arms around me," Johnston said. "He hugged me so tight I thought he might break me."
"In life there will be disappointments; look into those people who disappoint you like God would," Johnston said. "It's for sure they have let themselves down more than they have ever let you down."