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Graduation day, in many ways, is comparable to a wedding.

Attendees walk into a school’s gymnasium in some of their best attire waiting for that big ceremony to begin. There’s the essence of nerves and jitters, a full gamut of emotions, coursing through the crowd, much of which is shrouded by overall reverence held for the milestone event.

On Saturday, May 12, there were inevitably a few parents experiencing all of the above, maybe even a little sadness. Graduation is a big step forward, and the prospect of a child becoming a young adult can be a tough pill to swallow for some loved ones.

But while family members and friends piled into the David City High School gymnasium, only one emotion was readily visible not more than 50 yards away from the seating area, behind the stage where 46 graduates would soon receive slips of paper signifying four years of growth and development: Excitement.

Fully clad in their black gowns and caps, selfie after selfie was snapped, laughter filled the room and smiles were a dime a dozen. Sarah Wolfenden and Cole Martinez adjusted the tassels on their caps while nearby, Deborah White and Silvia Hernandez posed for goofy pictures with medals hanging around their necks.

Colin Vandenberg, Seth Styskal and Jake Seibert cracked smiles while hanging out in the middle of the changing room, which truly served as more of a gathering area than any changing facility.

Numerous tidbits of conversation could be heard, all coated in that unmistakable tone of excitement.

It’s a tight-knit class, there’s no doubt about that. Growing up in a town with a population of approximately 3,000 people, strangers become acquaintances, and oftentimes friends, in a hurry. Children head to school and see the same faces day in, day out. And while a few new faces funneled in from time to time, many students spent year after year with the same classmates.

That journey came to an end Saturday, but not before some quality reminiscing.

Following Brooke Bell’s Welcome speech and Jackson Hardin’s senior address, Class President Olivia Couch provided audience members with her senior address, which served to back up her bold claim the graduating class of 2018 was the greatest class to walk the hallways of David City Public Schools.

She did, however, support her statement by taking commencement attendees on a walk down memory lane.

She talked about the time Will Heller managed to staple his own thumb in first grade, letting out such a guttural shriek that his peers continued talking about it year after year.

Or how Chaquoya Givens once managed to trip so ungracefully that the end result required surgery.

What about when a pair of elementary-school-aged girls came up with code names for their crushes?

“Thank you to Sarah Wolfenden and Taylor Masek for coming up with all the code names for the boys in our class in elementary,” she said. “Yeah, those were pretty funny. ‘No way! You have a crush on Trebies?!’ It’s Seibert spelled backward. No one will ever know.”

She also highlighted the accomplishments of the graduating class, noting at least half graduated as a state champion in one thing or another. From athletics to journalism and speech, members of the senior class brought in their fair share of hardware for the school.

The future is a bright one for Couch and her peers, she said. Although graduates will travel down many different paths, in their careers and life, that journey started for many as children in David City, and rightfully so, ended there, too. Together.

“To my fellow graduates, I’d like to say thank you for the greatest 13 years I could have asked for,” Couch said. “Thank you for the memories, the friendships and for being yourself. It wasn’t always easy, but we did it. Today is for us. The world is ours for the taking. And I wish the very best to each and every one of you. Until we meet again, thank you.”

Sam Pimper is the news editor of the David City Banner-Press. Reach him via email at


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