REED CITY — Families and friends stood shoulder to shoulder on Thursday, in the Reed City High School gymnasium, to show their support of the more than 120 senior students who received their diplomas during the 135th annual commencement ceremony.

“Congratulations,” senior speaker Jade Ebels told her peers. “We made it. We spent the last four years working toward this day, even when we didn’t think it would ever come.”

Ebels and fellow senior speaker Lorenz Hoernel encouraged their classmates to chose their own path from graduation day forward and do what they loved.

“Follow your passions,” Hoernel said. “That will be your success in life.”

Students also heard from a RCHS alum, Jonathan Moerdyk, who crossed the stage to receive his diploma in 2005. Moerdyk gave students four pieces of advice — enjoy the season of life they are in, put others above themselves, always do their best and do not be afraid to fail.

“Do not define your success by comparisons to others,” he said. “Do what you can to the best of your ability. That is when you will find success.”

Students then were called up to receive their diplomas and were invited to turn their tassels, marking the end of their high school careers and the beginning of the next chapter of their lives. To end the ceremony, students walked outside to ring the victory bell.