Nearly 300 students from Tuloso-Midway High School celebrated the next step in their academic futures during a graduation ceremony Friday.

The event was held at the American Bank Center.

Salutatorian Jessica Secoy gave an emotional speech, thanking her family and friends for their support. She also reminded the Class of 2009 that in today's society, one must not be afraid to be unique in order to stand above the crowd or remain young at heart.

"It is so boring to see people who look the same - set yourself apart," Secoy said. "Find the kid in yourself. It's too early to lose that."

Valedictorian Chrissy Crisp chose to involve the audience in her speech, shouting "All you Warrior fans, are you ready?" when she approached the podium. She told her fellow graduates to prepare themselves for the world after high school, one which any one of them could help to change.

"When we receive our diplomas, we are given a chance to make a difference," Crisp said.

Principal Ann Bartosh said during the commencement ceremony that this year's graduates received more than $1.7 million in scholarship offers from various organizations and universities.