EVART — As the Evart High School class of 2015 prepares to enter the world, Teri Johnson Chapman reminded graduates during the May 31 commencement ceremony to take charge and responsibility of their lives when given the chance.

“I read someplace that about 98 percent of things that happen in our lives are things we have no control of,” Johnson Chapman said. “That only leaves about 2 percent of things we can control. You can control what do, what you say and what you think. Those are three important things.”

Johnson Chapman, who graduated from Evart High School in 1976, delivered the commencement speech to the 56 newest graduates of Evart High School. Johnson Chapman, director for the Office of Special Education for the Michigan Department of Education, spoke of her journey through education and her times attending school in Evart.

“I was just like all of you sitting before me,” she said. “I started here, too.”

In her valedictorian speech, Samantha Bressler looked ahead to the many paths before her and her classmates. She also noted the connection they all have from living in a small town.

“No matter what you choose to do with your life, I know you will all succeed,” Bressler said. “Just remember even the smallest choice can impact your future.”

During her speech, salutatorian Carly Weinberg told her classmates to pinch themselves because the day had finally arrived. Her speech also included interjections of musical clips, highlighting moments and feelings throughout their school days.

“It’s a mix of emotions today for us all,” Weinberg said. “Even though we each have different missions going forward in life, we know that we did this and we did it together.”