Blue Springs High School

Commencement at Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City

Class size: 590 students

Top 1 percent: Anthony Cruit, Isabelle Davis, Evan Lin, Kyle Seidel, Ethan Smith, Johnathan Stokes

Post-secondary: $7.5 million in scholarships

Also of note: 83 students cum laude (3.5-3.79, 82 magna cum laude (3.8-3.99), 98 summa cum laude (4.0+)

Class speakers: Ella Babcock: She wanted her classmates to remember not to be prisoners to society's designs and to make your own and color outside those lines.

Babcock recalled having to move from Warrensburg as a child, uprooting her neatly arranged life.

“I didn't know if I could start over,” she said. “I was trapped in a coloring book of my own choosing.”

Over time, she said, “I drew my identity and drew my destiny outside the lines.”

Babcock wanted her classmates to remember that every time they embark on a new chapter in life, they get a new back.

“Only when we escape the pages can we truly impact the world around us,” she said. “If you need a blank canvas, just use the back of your diploma!

“Make your mark; the world is waiting.”

Noah Hinton: He recalled being crushed after failing his geometry final twice as a freshman, admitting it was his fault for being lazy and watching “Breaking Bad” episodes on his smartphone.

“You can't avoid failure; it's inevitable,” Hinton said. “In fact, it's one of life's most valuable teaching tools.”

Hinton noted that Einstein and Lincoln considered themselves to have failed many times on their way to great success. And while people often try to categorize things simply as good or bad, right or wrong, “Life exists somewhere in between.”

“Don't let fear dictate your life,” Hinton said, before adding a favorite quote from a teacher: “Take some chances; make some mistakes; get messy.”