Arlington High School’s Class of 2019 will be heading to the next chapter of their lives after the school’s graduation ceremony on June 13.

For many students it was a long road to get to this point.

Valedictorian Katelyn Morris said it’s been a journey that has changed many of the students along the way, and “now we have made it to one of the biggest days of our lives.”

Valedictorian Jeffrey Andrews said he, like many students, let time slip by without appreciating what they had.

“In elementary school we just wanted to be in middle school. In middle school we just wanted to be in high school. And in high school we just wanted to graduate,” he said.

“Let’s slow down, smell the roses and reflect on our experiences,” he said.

Now that it’s over, Andrews said that the senior year was the end of a lot of experiences that he will miss.

“It’s the last time going to a sports game, last time going to school lunch, and tonight will be the last time that we’re all together,” he said.

Arlington school officials said they were excited to see the class graduate and were happy for the students.

“I’ve seen many instances of you being character strong and serving others. I’m extremely proud of you and honored to be a part of your learning journey,” said Arlington School District Superintendent Chrys Sweeting.

There were eight valedictorians and 19 students with a GPA of 3.9 or higher in this graduating class, said Arlington High School Principal Duane Fish.

“In my seven years as a principal this is by far one of the hardest working classes I have had the pleasure to serve,” he said.

He also highlighted the numerous sports teams that went to compete in their playoffs or at state this year and the many seniors who were recognized with awards throughout the year.

“The class of 2019 also had some of the best marching, concert and jazz bands in the entire state,” said Fish. One of the school’s jazz bands came in second at the Fullerton Jazz Festival this year.

Andrews said that the graduated students now have a chance to continue that work outside of their school.

“We all have amazing hopes that this room is full of future engineers, doctors, teachers and other occupations that will change the world for generations,” he said.

The ceremony also gave special recognition to one student that has passed away, Jovon “Jojo” Mangual, who would have graduated with this class.

“On March 22, 2014, at 10:37 a.m. the Oso mudslide took the lives of many residents of our community,” said student Aidan Espinoza. One of those who passed away was Mangual.

“Today we know that Jojo is with us in spirit and we want to thank all the family members who are in attendance today for the ceremony,” said Espinoza.

An empty seat was held in the middle of the graduating students in recognition of Mangual.

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