BALLINGER – The future looks bright for the 67 members of the Ballinger High School Class of 2017 and with almost all of the 67 seniors making a commitment to a post-secondary education. The Class of 2017 officially received their diplomas during a morning ceremony Saturday, May 20 at the Ballinger High School auditorium.

BALLINGER – The future looks bright for the 67 members of the Ballinger High School Class of 2017 and with almost all of the 67 seniors making a commitment to a post-secondary education. The Class of 2017 officially received their diplomas during a morning ceremony Saturday, May 20 at the Ballinger High School auditorium.

Dale Halfmann, president of the Ballinger ISD Board of Trustees, welcomed the students, family, friends and educators to the event.

“Congratulations on a job well done,” Halfmann said.

Max Pratt, minister of the 9th Street Church of Christ, delivered the graduation address.

“We celebrate with you an achievement, this is a moment like any other moments you have experienced – that last minute touchdown, that announcement the band has won sweepstakes,” Pratt said. “This is a time to congratulate you on the collective achievements for the Class of 2017.”

Pratt urged the graduates to be virtuous and to be mindful that “dreams come and go,” but to do what is “morally right in the eyes of Jesus.”

Valedictorian Helen Audrey Brown earned the honor with a 101.5 grade point average. She is the daughter of William and Gena Brown and plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to major in advertising. Brown has been in the marching and concert band, One Act Play, Speech and Debate, Fall Production, art, Student Council, Rotary Club, the Junior Chamber and the National Honor Society.

Brown told her classmates that the “unknown is about to hit us.”

She encouraged the Class of 2017 to remember the past fondly, but to live and focus on the present.

“Make plans for yourself,” Brown said. “Live in the moment.”

“I know we can do anything Class of 2017,” she said. “We finally made it.”

Zakk Ottmers, was the salutatorian of the Class of 2017 with a grade point average of 101.37. Ottmers, the son of Starr and Eric Sims, participated in UIL Debate, One Act Play, Fall Production, Concert and Marching Band, Choir, Student Council, Rotary Interact, Junior Chamber and the National Honor Society. He plans to attend Texas State University in the fall and will pursue a degree in theater arts.

He began his speech, with a reference to a Jimmy Fallon bit, and gave the audience quite laugh.

“I’d like to take some time to do some thank you notes…” he said as the music from the Tonight Show skit played in the background.

“To all of you…none of us would be here without you,” Ottmers said.

Ottmers continued with his speech making references to other pop icons and encouraging his classmates to “keep playing,” “appreciate life” and “just do what you love for the rest of your life.”

“Memories are what keeps us young from day to day,” Ottmers said. “Live life to the fullest.”