MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- "Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability"- that was the message Manhattan High School students heard Sunday during their graduation held at Kansas State University’s Bramlage Coliseum.
Senior Class Speaker Christopher Davis was inspired to live by the motto thanks to a former chemistry teacher at Manhattan High.
"I think that’s one thing we can all definitely gain from by doing and what an amazing difference it would make if everyone did," Davis told 13 News.
Several graduates are part of military families and before the ceremony, they had the chance to speak with loved ones who are currently deployed overseas via a video conference set up by Fort Riley. Among them was James Risberg whose father is currently deployed to Afghanistan.
"He told me congratulations. He said that he wished he could be here for me. It was nice to see him. He said he was really proud that I made it through all of this. It was a good talk," Risberg revealed about his conversation with his dad.
The ceremony was also broadcast live for deployed parents and guardians.
Risberg will study biomedical engineering and computer science at the University of Florida to develop robotic limbs in the future, particularly for soldiers wounded in combat.
"I want to build robotic arms. I’m interested in making robotics prostheses where the brain can talk to it- that kind of interface. I think it’s just fascinating stuff. I think my background has had a big impact on my choice of major because I’ve had some of my friends’ fathers get injured. They suffer and sacrifice so much for us. The least we can do is work to give them a semblance back of their normal life," he added.
His enthusiasm for the future was shared by all in the class of 2012.
"Bittersweet is a good word to describe the feeling today. We’re all really excited for each other," said graduate Caroline Fry.
"It’s just been an amazing time- a lot of great experiences and we all have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to. I think there’s a lot of opportunities out there and I’m just looking forward to the next part of this journey," Christopher Davis added.
The graduates received more than $1 million in scholarships to colleges and universities across the country.