The valedictorian of the 2018 graduating class of Pawhuska High School told her classmates and an audience of family members and friends last Friday that courage is the resource with which to address life’s challenges.

“Courage will now be your best defense against the storm that is at hand,”Hannah Marie Laughlin said, quoting J.R.R. Tolkien, a 20th century English academic and author of popular fiction including The Lord of the Rings. Laughlin also remarked on the spirit of cooperation that she said had come to characterize the class of 2018, as the students became what she called “our own crazy family.”

“I have seen and experienced help from my classmates many times,” Laughlin said, noting she does not enjoy public speaking. She both gave remarks on behalf of her class during the commencement ceremony, and called the class roll as her classmates received their diplomas.

Janet Neufeld, superintendent of Pawhuska Public Schools, and members of the Board of Education were in attendance. PHS Principal Lauri Lee handled introductions and presented the class.

The Huskie Sound provided instrumental music for the ceremony, and a quartet of senior girls — Abby Collier, BreeAna Dauber, Je’Nise Hunter and Erica Scheuermann — sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Kiana Lynette Taylor, president of the Junior Class, escorted the graduating class into Ormond Beach Memorial Stadium, where the graduation exercise took place on the football field.