After making last minute adjustments to their caps and gowns and accepting a candy lei or two from a close relative, roughly 180 Del Norte High School Warriors made their way to the Mike Whalen Field for the 2018 commencement ceremony on Friday.

This transition from high school student to graduate did not go unnoticed by salutatorian Claire Smith who paid tribute to those who excelled in their chosen passions and others who overcame barriers to wear the blue cap and gold tassel.

“They speak a language other than English and they wear the cap and gown. They’ve been homeless and they wear the cap and gown,” she said. “They leave school early to work a job to help pay rent and put food on the table and they wear the cap and gown. They’ve stood at the gravesites of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunties, grandparents and friends and they wear the cap and gown. Whatever hurdle life has thrown in front of them they have cleared it.”

Before she left for the ceremony, Sam Seymour, who plans to attend Humboldt State University, asked Gear Up instructor Shawn Dean to 3D print a character from Magic the Gathering.

When asked if she had any advice for incoming freshmen, Seymour was succinct.

“Listen, follow directions and work hard,” she said. “You’ll get all Cs or better if you just do those three things.”