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Published Oct. 13, 2005

Everybody talks about the future at high school commencement ceremonies, and how graduates should make the most of theirs. But Leto High School's Class of 1991 got bonus lessons Tuesday night on seizing the past and present.

Five hundred seniors in red and white gowns heard three fellow students offered parting advice before diplomas were handed out during ceremonies at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

Valedictorian Iman Hajinezhad took students on a quick tour through some of high school's memorable experiences. Then he told them that holding on to those memories _ from big football games to grueling math contests _ would provide strength to face the uncertainties ahead.

Salutatorian Susanne Conefry told students they were beginning a new life, one with more independence and responsibility than they had known before.

"We have within our grasp the power of the present," Conefry told her classmates.

Senior Michael Pfingsten painted a future a little different from the world of boundless opportunities that is usually detailed at commencement exercises.

Pfingsten told students of challenges they will face, especially in such areas as the environment, war and ever-changing technology.