ARLINGTON - On Saturday, 24 Arlington Memorial High School students turned their tassels and bid farewell to friends, faculty, and staff as the graduating class of 2013.

AMHS history teacher, Hooper Pickering served as the class's commencement speaker, commending the students on the close relationships that they had formed with one another over the years. He also praised their ability to "deliver when called upon," and thanked the students for teaching him "kindness, generosity and the importance of life."

Salutatorian, Duncan Gamble recited W.S. Merwin's poem, Youth of Grass, during his speech, relating the poem's underlying theme to the new life chapter on which he and his fellow classmates are about to embark.

Sarah Weiler, Valedictorian, encouraged her classmates to embrace their "messy chalkboards," making reference to the phrase, "starting over with a clean slate."

"There is no such thing as a clean slate," Weiler said. "Because you can't get rid of your past."

Weiler continued, explaining to the class that happiness is not only created by good experiences, but by bad ones as well, "Happiness is determined by your memories, your mistakes," she said. "They're here forever, we can't wipe them away, we just need to embrace them."

Following the speeches, friends, family, faculty and staff were treated to a video presentation comprised of childhood and present-day photos of the graduates, as well as a flawlessly performed flute solo by Weiler.

Following the ceremony, graduates Alex Trayah and John-David Esposito were bursting with excitement.

"I'm feeling on top of the world," said Trayah. "I'm so excited."

Esposito agreed, exclaiming, "I'm so amped!"

Both students will continue their education come fall, Trayah attending Castleton, and Esposito attending CCV.

Gamble and Weiler were equally as excited after the ceremony.

"I'm absolutely elated," said Gamble. "I want to thank everybody who helped me get here. They're all part of this."

Gamble will be attending UVM in the fall to study Neuroscience.

"I would not be here today without Arlington," beamed Weiler. "I'm so happy."

Weiler will study creative writing at Southern Vermont College in the fall.