The Carbon Career and Technical Institute (CCTI) held its 19th Annual Commencement Ceremony in the Jim Thorpe Area High School auditorium Thursday evening.

Seventy-one seniors were awarded diplomas.

After a greeting by CCTI Administrative Director David Reinbold, the national anthem was sung by Jeanette Richards.

Director Reinbold then announced the salutatorian and valedictorian for the CCTI Class of 2013.

Lauren Pickrell is the valedictorian and Rachel Mills is salutatorian.

Mills said, "Tonight is one of the most important nights we will ever experience. For some of us, high school has been the best time of our life; for others, it's just the beginning."

"Tomorrow a new chapter in life begins for each of us," she told her classmates.

"Regardless on what you do tomorrow, none of it would have been possible without our families and teachers pushing us to do better and be better."

Recounting Dr. Suess, Mills said, "You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose."

She concluded, "We only have one life to live and it's now our responsibility to define who we are and what we do with our lives."

Pickrell, in her address, remarked, "I realize that this is a once in a lifetime chance."

"Not only are we graduating, but we all have prepared ourselves for the future and we did it together," she said.

She added, "We are all unique, determined, and courageous."

Pickrell said in her speech, "More than half our class are going to college; many on scholarships, and of the other half of those of us that aren't attending college, many are already employed."

"And in this economy, this is no small feat," she added.

The top-ranked student stated, "We, the Class of 2013 from CCTI have proven ourselves more than once and I know that we will continue to succeed in all that we do."

After they had spoken, diplomas were presented according to the 15 shops within the class.

Those shops are : auto collision repair, auto service technology, carpentry, cosmetology, culinary arts, electrical construction maintenance, graphic design, health medical assistant, management information system, marketing, plumbing heating air conditioning, precision machine technology, welding, alternative education, and life skills.

After the official graduation announcement by Reinbold, members of the class proceeded to move their tassels from the right side of their caps to the left signifying their accomplishment.