The Class of 2018 crossed the threshold from high school into the world Friday night in Memorial Stadium, and Dr. Cidonio Cantu had several handfuls of pennies as proof.

As one last act of care-free high school high jinks, every Alice High School senior who crossed the stage and received their diploma during the school’s commencement exercises was greeted by a handshake by Cantu, the school’s principal. In the exchange, every graduating senior — all 288 of them — handed him a penny.

It was just part of a memorable evening and the class’ final night as high school seniors. The evening was also briefly interrupted by a power outage which knocked out the lights over part of the stadium. The outage was caused by balloons which were released by someone in the stands. The balloons tangled with a power line.

Still, it wasn’t enough to ruin what the Class of 2018 had worked 12 long years for.

Dressed in Alice High School’s traditional burnt orange cap and gowns adorned in an assortment of colorful cords and collars, the Class of 2018 each received their diplomas, one by one.

The highlight of the evening was the recognition of the school’s honored graduates, including valedictorian Hannah Hayslip, salutatorian Aryssa Cruz and highest-ranking boy Matthew Gallegos.

Greg Rodriguez was named the Class of 2018’s Outstanding Boy and Rose Torres was named outstanding Girl.

Hayslip addressed her fellow graduates and encouraged the group to set off into the world without fearing failure. She quotes author J.K. Rowling.

“It’s impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default,” Hayslip said.

She said that many of the world’s greatest innovators failed before succeeding. Hayslip said what separated them from others was perseverance.

“In the dictionary, perseverance is defined as ‘steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success,’” she said. “We are going to fail at some point in our lives. This is inevitable. However, what will define us is the perseverance we show after a failure. What will define us is taking a chance by rising up and trying again… never giving up.”

Cruz’s speech was on the witty side. She thanked everyone for helping reach this point, from her parents, teachers and friends to Netflix and even Alice restaurant Fruit Revolution. She also quoted Winnie the Pooh when she said, “A wise bear once said, ‘We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.’”

She then ended her speech with wise words from author Henry David Thoreau when she said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined.”

Alice High School also honored Alfonso Y. Ibanez, who withdrew from William Adams High School before graduating in Nov. 1966 to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was killed in action while fighting in Vietnam. Alice recognized Ibanez and awarded his family with a diploma during the commencement ceremonies.

Also recognized was Matthew Perez, who died from cancer as a freshman at Alice High School in 2015.

The Class of 2018 had four three-year graduates. They were recognized as well. They were Heather Lynn Garcia, Miguel Angel Perales, Katrina Perez and Caitlyn Tamez.