Parents, family and friends packed the Southern Boone High School gym on Sunday afternoon to congratulate the 110 graduating seniors making up the Class of 2018.

SoBoCo High School Principal Dale Van Deven said this high school class had earned many achievements, but they would be remembered as a “caring group of students.”

Lauren Gateley, left, Salutatorian, and Heather Dougan, Valedictorian were honored as the top academic achievers at Sunday’s commencement.

Class President Chris Bonderer spoke to his classmates about patience – and interspersed his comments with several commonly used phrases from their school days.

Special music was presented by Ryan Nolan – who received a standing ovation for his rendition of “My Way” – and Grant Rust.

Special needs student Riley Tade also received a standing ovation – first from his classmates and then from the entire crowd – as he made his way across the stage to receive his diploma.

This year’s senior class is one of the smaller in recent years, with SoBoCo graduating as many as 130 within the past five years. Upcoming classes will be larger, according to SoBoCo enrollment reports, and likely increase as more homes are built within the district.

The standing-room-only crowd filtered in and out of the gym throughout the ceremony, with a number of visitors watching via the closed circuit screen set up in the high school auditorium.

The last day of school for the rest of Southern Boone is next Wednesday, May 23 with a 12:30 p.m. release.

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By Bruce Wallace