"We want to welcome and thank all of you for your patience and understanding," said Superintendent John McEachern, after the class of 2008 marched in to "Pomp and Circumstance" performed by Slater's combined concert bands. "We wanted to insure that all of our graduates would be here, thus we postponed the ceremonies until this time."
The commencement speaker was Sybil Shepard Allegri, a 1995 graduate of Slater and a graduate of Kansas State University's school of architecture and design. She works for HOK Sport in Kansas City and is currently working on projects of designing the new Yankee Stadium in New York and the Minnesota Twins' new stadium.
She told the students to "honor your calling," and quoted Albert Einstein, who is credited with saying "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
"You were fortunate enough to be raised in this small town and go to this school," she said, "Do you know how many inner-city kids would have thrived had they had the kind of personalized attention you received from your teachers?
"I hope you appreciate where you came from and the community that supported you."
She also told the students to "under-promise, but over-deliver. Always do a bit more than what is expected."
In closing, she repeated the words she was told at her graduation.
"You do not have to be perfect to be successful," she said, adding "Do not worry about how successful you will be. Be passionate about something, work hard and I'm pretty sure the success will take care of itself."
Hannah Boyer, class president, also spoke to her classmates and the large gathering of friends and family.
Before receiving their diplomas, individual students were recognized for the scholarships they have received. They also recognized the valedictorian of the class, Amy Fizer, and salutatorian Hannah Boyer. In all, the Slater graduates were awarded over $200,000 in scholarships.
During the ceremony, graduating students Jessica Fleetwood, Amy Fizer, Tony Navarrete and Sam Spurgin sang "Like a Lighthouse."
Near the closing ceremonies, Fleetwood sang "I Hope You Dance," for the large crowd and received a standing ovation from her classmates.
Rick Hays, president of the Slater Board of Education, awarded the 34 Slater graduates their diplomas.
The Slater class of 2008 had all eligible students graduate and McEachern had a challenge for the younger classes.
"I challenge each and every graduating class to have 100 percent of their graduates to graduate," he said.