HANCOCK COUNTY — Friday evening was the culmination of four years of hard work.

Family and friends packed gyms at area high schools Friday as some 500 seniors from New Palestine and Mt. Vernon high schools celebrated their graduations.

The graduating class members of 2017 smiled, cheered and even shed a few tears as they celebrated their successes and said goodbye to high school.

Many of the graduates are heading to college, while some are jumping straight into the workforce. Regardless of future plans, it was a special night as the students closed one chapter of their lives.

New Palestine High School’s valedictorian is Bryan Shaw; salutatorians are Brett Luker and Bethany Neeb. The three students made speeches at graduation, wishing their fellow classmates well as they embark on their next adventures.

Mt. Vernon’s valedictorian is Nathan Grandstaff; the salutatorian is Kallan Ratekin.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.