REED CITY — Reed City High School seniors Sabrina Somers and Kendra White told their fellow 95 classmates not to be afraid of fear — fear of failing, fear of embarrassment, fear of not knowing what the future holds.

Instead, Somers and White challenged their classmates to be ready for failure and ready to learn from it as part of their speeches during the 134th graduation ceremony at Reed City High School Friday evening.

Somers said she experienced several fears when she set out to write her speech for commencement.

"You have to make sure that your fear of failure is less than your desire to succeed," she told her fellow seniors and a standing-room only gymnasium. "We don't need to worry about what might go wrong. Not everything will go exactly as we planned, but we cannot fear that."

White told her fellow graduates not to focus on failures, but to learn from them.

"The future is unknown," she said. "There's a different version of success for everyone. Whatever failure you encounter, it only matters as long as you learn from it."

RCHS Principal Monty Price also presented the Distinguished Alumni Award to 2009 valedictorian Chelsea Guzikowski. Now a physician's assistant, Guzikowski told the Class of 2017 to remain true to themselves no matter where life leads them.

"Keep your moral compass high," she said. "Meet new friends and be open to new relationships and experiences."

Reed City Area Public Schools Superintendent Tim Webster and RCAPS Board of Education President Derrick Bookwalter praised members of the Class of 2017 for accomplishing all they could.

Just before receiving their diplomas, Price reminded each of them to be sure to know what success means.

"You're going to leave here and be asked, 'What do you want to be?'" he said. "The right question to ask yourself, when it comes to success is 'Who do you want to be?'

"That will be more successful than what you want to be."