Hundreds of area students turned their tassels Saturday and were welcomed into their new alumni status. While Sherman High School held its commencement ceremony in the morning, Denison High School graduates got to watch the sun set on their high school careers while the sun was setting ahead of them.

Both programs included principals, students and guests talking about the importance of finishing grade school and the student’s bright futures ahead.

“We have grown up so much, but we are about to take out first steps in life together,” SHS valedictorian Emma Hammett quoted her classmate Jonathan Ngo.

Combined, the more than 400 graduates of SHS earned around $3 million in college scholarships. Principal Jenifer Politi congratulated her former students on their accomplishments and encouraged them to keep up the good work.

“One person can change the world and it starts with each of you,” she said. “Only you can define what you are capable of.”

Dylicia Gilmore was most excited about having her name called Saturday. On top of her gown, she donned cords for being a senior class officer as well as being a member of FCCLA.

“I am going to work on getting my degree in early childhood development,” she said.

Next to her in line was D’Ira Woods who said she will be attending Texas A&M University - Commerce in the fall. She also said she was most excited about seeing her classmates all together for the last time.

“I am going to college at Stephen F. Austin and major in business,” said T.K. Walton as he eagerly hugged the students around him. “I am also going to play football. I can’t wait to actually get my diploma and graduate.”

At Denison High Schools graduation Saturday night, Baley Brown said he was just ready to get things started.

“There was just so much going on today,” he said.

He added that he thought having the ceremony at night gave it a little extra something special.

“With all of the other graduations it kinds seems like ours is the BIG event because ours is later,” he said.

The future student of the U. S. Air Force Academy said he will miss a lot about going to Denison High School.

“The community around Denison, just the whole environment,” he said. He said he would advise the underclassmen “to cherish every moment.” He said he knows it sounds a little like a cliche but it is true that it all goes by so fast.

Sitting just a few students away from him, Emory Redwine said she woke up with excitement thinking that graduation day had finally arrived. She said she plans to go to Baylor and major in Health Sciences. That wasn’t always the plan though.

“I took Anatomy and Physiology with Mr. Terry my senior year,” she explained. She liked the class so much she decided to pursue a career in that field.

Redwine said high school exceeded her expectations because it was nothing like they make it out to be in the movies. She said she would tell underclassmen to remember that senioritis is “very real” and they just have to muscle through it to get to grab that diploma.

Brown and Redwine and all of their classmates were treated to speeches by valedictorian Avery Crawley and salutatorian Ryan Riddle.

Crawley thanked keynote speaker John Mark Jennings for “reminding us that wherever our paths lead, Denison will always be home.”