Tracy Carson is congratulated by Deputy Superintendent Denise Griebel after receiving her diploma.

With a crowd of family, friends and well-wishers packing “The Jungle” to the rafters Saturday morning when the North Laurel High School Class of 2009 had its last high school hurrah and graduating seniors received their diplomas.

Senior Class President Brittany Hillard said over the last 13 years, the students have had fun, made friends and gone through numerous changes as they progressed through elementary, middle and high school, to reach this day. No matter how much some of them may have hated school, it has helped shaped and defined the people they have become.

Valedictorian Mackenzie Kern told his fellow students graduation is neither the end of one journey nor the beginning of another, but a time of transition after which the stakes will be much higher.

“There will be no dropped grades and no excuses,” Kern said, encouraging the graduates to take the life lessons they learned while in school and apply them as they move into adulthood and deal with a multitude of changes.

“This is not the end of the journey, but a landmark along the way,” Kern said.

We must embrace the changes in our lives,” he said.

Salutatorian Johsua Seidel reminded the graduates they will each face tough times as they move into the world. However, overcoming those challenges will make them better people.

“If you perservere through the difficult times, you will get good results,” Seidel said.

With those words, Superintendent David Young, Deputy Superintendent Greg Smith and Assistant Superintendent Denise Griebel presented the 260 seniors with their diplomas, after which the seniors had the traditional turning of the tassels and tossing of the caps.

Staff writer Dean Manning may be reached at

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