With family and friends filling the stands of the American Bank Center, the 2009 graduating class of Calallen High School walked across the stage to accept their diplomas Saturday morning.

Toody Byrd, a former educator and author who gave the keynote address, praised the honor students for their accomplishments, but said she wanted to also address the "B and C" students in the audience.

"There's always going to be a place in the world for C-students like Winston Churchill and my son-in-law, the doctor," Byrd said. "And hang in there. Where do you think our legislators come from?"

During her entertaining 20-minute address, Byrd also told the students they needed to learn lessons that were not as widespread when she was young.

"You know kids, I'm not nearly as worried that you're graduating without knowing the three Rs, as I'm worried you'll graduate without knowing the three Is," Byrd said. "You're not indestructible, you're not immortal and you're not infertile."

Addressing her classmates Saturday, Valedictorian Janelle Caroline Thompson said what we do in life defines who we are.

"High school is a stepping stone for a much bigger and challenging world. But where do we go from here?" Thompson asked. "When you walk out that door, define your goals, work toward them and think about where you want to be."