LAUREL HILL — The Laurel Hill School gymnasium was full of family and friends who came to support the 26 students in the graduating class of 2017. 

As the students proceeded into the gymnasium, each laid a white rose in front of a memorial set up for Austin Bryan Sutton-Rogers, a classmate who died in 2014. 

Kaylee L’Homme and Dakota Bly said the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a welcome from Olivia Stewart and Tykeal “TJ” White. 

The Summa Cum Laude addresses were said by Lauren Mitchell, Bailey Stokes, Rebecca Welsh and Rachel Welsh. 

Lee Martello, Laurel Hill’s principal, took the podium to address the seniors and began crying several times. She quoted many lyrics of songs students were familiar with to help explain her feelings toward the students. 

The class was then presented by the assistant principal, Jacqueline Craig. The students lined up to receive their diplomas, hand shakes from school board members and a hug from Debra Adams, the senior sponsor and teacher at Laurel Hill School. 

A slideshow was presented with pictures of the class of 2017. Closing remarks were said by Kira Triplett and Jax Schlinger. 

Marcus Chambers, assistant superintendent of curriculum; Steve Horton, assistant superintendent of management information services; Nick Kootsouradis, assistant superintendent of schools operations; and Stacie Smith, assistant superintendent of human resources attended the ceremony. 

The class colors are baby blue and gold; the class flower is a white rose; the class song is “Fast” by Luke Bryan; and the class motto is: “Keep moving forward,” said by Walt Disney. 

According to the school, at least one student is joining the military after graduation and at least five are going to college.