It was a big Friday night for the Stephenville community when 216 high school seniors walked across the stage at Tarleton State University’s Memorial Stadium and stepped into the next chapter of their lives.

SHS valedictorian Mariana Rios read a powerful poem to her fellow students and added a little comedy by turning on a bubble machine during her speech.

“Whether we earned medals to boast or beheld our dashed hopes, we gave it our effort, utmost,” Rios recited. 

SHS salutatorian thanked the many teachers who inspired her including former SHS teacher, Dr. Rick Sherrod, who recently passed away after a short battle with cancer.

“I can’t speak for everyone, but the teachers I had throughout high school have taught me important life lessons,” said SHS salutatorian Jordan Carter. “Dr. Sherrod always entered the room with a smile and had an interest in what his students were doing outside of the classroom. I never doubted that Dr. Sherrod cared about me as an individual. Though I learned a lot about history in his class, I learned more about life.”

Many SHS graduates were recognized by SISD faculty and staff members before walking across the stage to receive their high school diplomas.