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story.lead_photo.caption North Callaway High School's 2019 graduating class applauds during the Friday night ceremony. 'You have great strengths. You are Thunderbirds," Principal Brian Jobe said. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

North Callaway High School student speaker Carson Whalen referred to graduation as the "great break."

Members of the 2019 class will be going their separate ways after they turn their tassels, he said.

"Maybe it's your final time looking at someone's face in your class before they leave the state or go to serve your country," he said during his speech at graduation Friday evening.

But each of the 87 members of the 2019 graduating class will always have their North Callaway family.

"At North Callaway, we are a family," Whalen said. "We see it in our teams, our student body and every member of the staff."

NCHS Principal Brian Jobe spoke with pride about this year's graduates.

"A wise man once told me, life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react," he said. "I have seen many of you, on so many occasions, react with character and empathy. Each of you has left your mark on North Callaway."

The graduates have pride, too.

"I feel fulfilled because I made my mom proud," Andrew Locastro said.

Christa Gilman was this year's valedictorian, and Ean Rohrbach was salutatorian.

The NCHS graduates have accumulated more than $1.1 million dollars in scholarships. more than a third of the class, 35 students, qualified as A+ Students through high academic and personal achievement. And 24 are National Honor Society members.

Keynote speaker Dr. John Wilkerson of Indiana University, a NCHS graduate himself, encouraged the students to persevere and be kind.

"When the world does seem difficult just remember that those challenges are the moments that help you realize how bright life can be," he said.

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