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Published Oct. 13, 2005

A rainy Thursday night could not dampen the spirits of Plant City High School graduates and their families and friends. As the 552 graduating seniors marched to their places on the concrete floor of the Florida State Fairgrounds' Expo Hall, there were periodic whistles and cheers from the stands as people in the audience called out to those they recognized. Sometimes the graduates, torn between dignity and enthusiasm, waved back.

It was also a time for levity. "This is it," said valedictorian Geehuan Jeff Wang. "This is probably the last speech you'll have to listen to in your high school career."

Both Wang and principal Doug Erwin praised the record-setting Class of 1991. Nearly a million dollars in college scholarships have been offered to members of the class, Erwin said. Those and other achievements made this "the best class in the history of the school," Erwin said.

As at all happy occasions, there was plenty of praise to go around.

Erwin singled out the parents for their role in molding their children's characters. "Due to your guidance, there's a lot right with these young men and women tonight."

Salutatorian Kelli Ayres thanked teachers, families and friends "for the support, motivation and inspiration (we needed) to achieve our goals."