During her salutatory address Thursday evening at Dayton High School's graduation, Lauren Coons recognized the distinct paths that the students, all the while supporting one another in their diversity.
"Each of our experiences at Dayton High School was different," she said. "Different as we may be, we stand together as graduates."
Hector Sepulveda, 18, who has attended school in Dayton since the fifth grade said his classmates have stood beside him, despite his alternative style.
He showed up for graduation wearing full make-up and earrings, with his fingernails painted a pearly pink.
"A lot of people would say I'm unique," he said. "They've never judged me for who I am."
He plans to study photography at the Art Institute of West Hollywood, but said he will miss his friends.
"We're all moving on to bigger and better things," Sepulveda said. "But you have memories with all of these people you grew up with for so long."
Shanleigh Brethauer, 18, is excited for the future.
"I'm stoked, absolutely stoked," she said. "We're graduating, getting out of here, starting our lives."
Michael Perkins, 18, said he felt the same excitement, mixed with some anxiety.
"You've spent years and years going to school," he explained. "Now, you have to make your own choices. I look to the future with open arms, but at the same time, you can't help but be nervous."
Before beginning her higher education at the University of Nevada, Reno, Maggie Capps, 17, plans to spend the summer living with her family's former foreign exchange student in Germany.
"I'm super excited to explore a different culture," she said. "I want to teach abroad after I get my degree."
Valedictorian Erika Garcia assured graduates that they had successful futures awaiting them.
"We are ready to take on life," she said. "We are going to do great things."
And it's not just the students who are moving on.
Principal Wayne Workman announced that vice principal Tim Logan will be replacing him next year. Workman is taking an associate superintendent position in the Lyon County School District office.
"I'm going out with an outstanding class," he said. "I am certainly going to miss the camaraderie with students and staff."