The next chapter began for 293 students Thursday night as they graduated from Lubbock-Cooper High School.
The United Supermarkets Arena was filled with family, friends, and other students as the graduates walked the stage. Claire Marnell, salutatorian for the class of 2018, gave a speech in which she encouraged the class to appreciate high school, but be ready for bigger things.
"A new beginning is on the horizon," said Marnell. "It's my sincere hope that high school wasn't the time of your life. High school was definitely an experience like no other, but we still have our whole lives ahead of us."
Marnell thanked the teachers and faculty at the school, saying the class wouldn't be graduating without their help through the last four years that led to them walking the stage.
"This is only the beginning, greater things lie ahead," said Marnell. "We did it. We made it."
Shaler Keenum, valedictorian for the class of 2018, said that even though he was missing the opening night of "Solo: A Star Wars Movie," he was excited to celebrate the momentous occasion of his class' graduation.
"We're at graduation to celebrate our accomplishments, successes, and hard work," Keenum told his class. "We're graduating to celebrate everything we've done in the past to look forward to our future."
Keenum also was excited to share the moment with his great-grandmother, who he said was turning 102 soon and had never had a valedictorian in the family.
Keenum quoted BBC's "Doctor Who" as he explained to the graduates that there are more possibilities for their futures than they can imagine, before leaving them with encouraging words.
"We're the Lubbock-Cooper class of 2018," said Keenum. "We will change the world."