Sitting toward the back of the purple sea of Blue Springs High School graduates-to-be on the floor of Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium, Claire Dodge waited for what felt an eternity to hear her name and walk across the stage.

Sitting toward the back of the purple sea of Blue Springs High School graduates-to-be on the floor of Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium, Claire Dodge waited for what felt an eternity to hear her name and walk across the stage.

In retrospect though, it wasn’t so bad.

“When we got done, it was really fast,” Dodge said following Sunday afternoon’s commencement exercises.

It was much like her four years at Blue Springs.

“It’s a feeling I remember freshman year when my sister graduated,” said Dodge, who participated in the Golden Regiment color guard and orchestra while at Blue Springs and plans to major in speech pathology at Central Missouri University. “It felt like that will never happen.

“It still hasn’t hit me. I feel like it’ll hit me later, when I got off to college, probably.”

While getting weighed down with candy necklace after candy necklace from congratulating family members, Brandon Sua shared a similar reflection.

“It’s amazing; it got here faster than I thought it would,” he said. “You don’t really expect it to go that fast.

“Yesterday I was just a freshman. The next day I wake up in a cap and gown,” said Sua, who said he will take a church mission trip before heading to college.

Dodge and Sua were part of a graduating class listed at 536 members. Paul Kinder, district superintendent, noted during his welcome that this class has been awarded a potential $6.3 million in scholarships, a school record since the district split into two high schools almost 20 years ago.

The first class speaker, Taylor Holcombe, remembered the fear she experienced one school day the end of her sophomore year, when a tornado warning was issued. The future, with its sudden freedom but also uncertainty, can inspire a similar fear, she admitted.

“We can’t let our fear of independence and change get in the way of our individual goals,” said Holcombe, who plans to major in broadcast journalism at Western Kentucky University.

Anson Long-Seabra urged his classmates to remember the spirit of “YOLO” – You Only Live Once – just not as a license for unlawful activities.

“The sooner we realize we have just this one life to live, the sooner we’ll start to live it,” said the future Truman State student. “Regret is an awful thing. Don’t live with it.”