By Rebecca Herman

Family and friends gathered on Saturday, May 13 to celebrate the culmination of 13 years of hard work and dedication of the Johnson County High School’s Class of 2017. One hundred and seventy seniors waited anxiously in the halls as the final chapter of their high school career came to a close.
The ceremony began with the JCHS Class of 2017 marching to their seats while the JCHS Band played Pomp and Circumstance by Sir Edward Elgar. The band then played The Star Spangled Banner by John Phillip Sousa and Johnson County Student School Board Member, Marly Eggers led the recitation of the Pledge to the Flag.
Principal Lisa Throop welcomed seniors and their families and reminisced about how quickly time goes by. “It is always surprising how quick the years seem to go by from the day we send them out to the first day of Kindergarten to today when we watch them walk the stage as graduates,” Throop said. “You have all watched these students start out as children and mature into the young adults they are today.” Throop encouraged students to remember, as Steve Jobs said, “don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your inner voice, and most important, have courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Throop introduced the seven valedictorians that gave a combined speech entitled, “Live and Learn.” The 2017 valedictorians were Kristofer Artidiello, Isabella Dunn, Joshua Dunn, Spencer Stanley, Brianne Ward, Arizona Woodard, and Montana Woodard. The speech encouraged seniors to, “look back at the journey that was high school and remember some of the wonderful times you had,” said Kristofer Artidiello. Isabella Dunn thanked all the people who helped seniors to get them to this point, and for “being our shoulders to lean on.” Joshua Dunn reminded seniors that they should not, “Waste your precious time on regrets of the past; instead look to the future, and utilize that time to search for and realize your dreams.” Spencer Stanley encouraged seniors to, “never be content in our endeavors, and we shall continuously progress and strive for wisdom.” Brianne Ward told seniors that, “we are not perfect. We mess up. We make mistakes. But that is okay. Experiences, especially negative ones, are the best teachers of all.” Arizona Woodard wished for the senior class to, “strive to learn more about yourself, as if you will live forever, so you can become a more productive, self-aware, and self-actualized individual.” Montana Woodard ended the speech with a hope that, “you will all have the opportunity to be successful, genuinely happy, and to leave your mark on the world.”
There were two special performances by school system faculty. JCHS teacher, Kasi Dishman sang For Good and JCHS teacher, Clarissa Schmal, Dr. Stephen Long, and Kyman Matherly performed My Wish.
Director of Schools Dr. Mischelle Simcox presented diplomas to the seniors with a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” She encouraged each student to “make the most out of life. Live your dreams. Each one of you can be and do anything you want, you just have to believe!”
The ceremony ended with senior Courtney Stout leading the senior class in the turning of the tassel tradition. After turning their tassel, the graduating class marched out of the gymnasium while the JCHS Band played Mini Suite:Movement Seven by Morton Gould.