Heidi Bunch photos
Mineral County High School seniors listen to a speech at their graduation ceremony Friday night at the school gym. In all, 33 Serpent students received a diploma that marked the conclusion of their high school careers.

Friday night marked a major stepping stone for 33 Serpent seniors as they went from students to alumni of Mineral County High School.

Family and friends applauded and cheered as the small class of 2017 entered the gym and walked onto the stage eager to receive the diploma that many had worked over 12 years to achieve.

The ceremony was emotional for parents, a relief for students but most of all, it was a time to reflect and recognize the job well done.

JoEllen Barrett, guest speaker for the class and MCHS teacher, spoke directly to each student, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and gave words of wisdom to them as both a class and an individual. She urged them to leave Hawthorne, to see the world, knowing they can come back at any time.

Class accomplishments were given by Taylen Wachsmuth and Brandon West who reflected on the journey of the class. From kindergarten to high school. The struggles with being suspended for playing football, raising funds for grass at the elementary school to winning the state basketball championship this year.

Alyssa Richmond, MCHS Valedictorian for the Class of 2017, spoke emotionally about her school journey and the loss of her grandfather. She thanked her family, classmates and teachers for the support given to her throughout her life.

Alfonso Castillo-Trujillo, MCHS Salutatorian for the Class of 2017, had a large cheering section in the stands. He too thanked those who helped him get to where he is at today.

After the tradition of the turning of tassels by senior class president, Jordin Medlock, the Serpents on stage when from student to alumni in a simple toss of gold and black hats.

A list of the 2017 scholarship awards is listed within the Independent-News this week.