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Payson High School's 284 graduating seniors were told Thursday night in their commencement to choose their dreams carefully because they will find what they seek.

"People who have goals set succeed because they know where they're going and how they will get there," senior Jenny Chamberlain said. "If we think negative thoughts, we will get negative rewards. If we think about nothing, we will become nothing."Each day, act as if you cannot fail, and each day will make you more successful," she said.

Adrian Cori Whitelock reminded her former classmates that "freedom is a package deal; it comes with responsibilities and consequences." Sometimes people must give up their own desires in order to achieve peace, she added.

Mary Leach said life is meant for experiencing laughter, tears, failures and successes. "It is the nature of joy that it only comes after a struggle," she said. She urged classmates to look for joy in their families of the present and future.

Senior Christopher Robert Clayton told a story about a man who had a successful business until his son told him the country was in an economic depression. The man cut his stock and stopped marketing efforts so he would be conservative and safe, and soon his business failed. Clayton urged graduates never to put the opinions of critics before their own opinions and to have the "faith, moral steadfastness and tenacity to stick with it and never give up."

Class president Bradley Don Christiansen told his classmates they had "many defeats and victories of which to be proud." He reminded them that as graduates they are not "has beens" but "to be's." They are to be everything from doctors or lawyers to politicians or rodeo champs, he said, and they need to set goals to make it happen.

Senior class adviser Jeff Alexander said that if he had to describe this year's graduating class he would use the words "casual dedication."

"You are about as laid back as any class I have ever seen. Even a cattle prod wouldn't get some of you going," he joked. "But when you get going, you can do anything."

Alexander also teased the graduates about their choice of a class gift to the school - picnic tables for the patio.

Principal Cary Bailey gave the final speech.

"You stand at a gateway," he said. "Grab hold of that tomorrow and use it to build a bright and shining future."