PASCAGOULA -- Valedictorian Joseph Hasbrouck told his fellow graduates they were graduating into a world of opportunity.
Hasbrouck said people often "glorify the bygone eras of the past" believing their parents or grandparents "lived in better times." However, he said, progress requires innovations and new thinking.
"Today is rife with opportunities that anyone can take," he said. "This means some of us may have to use the stuff we've learned over the last 13 years."
Echoing Robert Fulghum, Hasbrouck said the most important lessons come from kindergarten, including sharing and taking a nap.
However, the most important skill they would use, he said, was reading. In recent presidential debates, he said, candidates were advancing positions and statements without evidence.
"Don't be those people," he said. "Stay informed. Stay aware. Read the news once in a while."
Quoting children's author, poet and songwriter Shel Silverstein, he said there were no happy endings -- that endings are the saddest part.
"So just give me a happy middle and a very happy start," he continued the quote, wishing his classmates a happy start to their new life.
Senior class president Kamryn Tart looked forward to the days after graduation, making the promise, "The Pascagoula class of 2016 will be great at everything that we do."
The class of 2016 seems to have had a happy start, winning $6.875 million in scholarships.