In her comments to the student body, Lay compared her high school journey to a ride on the Polar Express.
"You hop on and everything is scary at first," Lay said. "You want to find a place to fit in; somewhere you feel that people appreciate you for who you are. You meet the other passengers and immediately start trying to impress them by doing ridiculous things even if you're uncomfortable with them. Once you get on that track, this becomes who you are."
"It's easier to stay on your own way through this journey instead of jumping on someone else's coach and becoming the same," she continued. "To do this, you'll need some help; a conductor, technical support and encouragement. You usually find this from where you began; your morals, your family and your childhood."
Lay went on to say the Polar Express, or high school, is an experience that will create opportunities to make a positive impact for everyone on board.
Lay told students the Polar Express is the end of their childhood journey.
"You either made something of yourself or are still trying to strive to become that person you were meant to be," she said. "You can stand for what you believe is right or be a bystander to a train wreck waiting to happen.
"I encourage each of you to think about what compartment of the Polar Express you are on," Lay said. "Is it your own or someone else's? Is your conductor in control or a fellow passenger? I hope that everyone finds their home on the Polar Express and starts to make a mark on the railway.
"Merry Christmas and God bless," she said.
Students then escorted clients from the Barry-Lawrence Development Center into the gym, where Lay read "T'was the Night Before Christmas," and gifts from the high school's clubs and organizations were delivered.
Santa Claus made a surprise visit to the gymnasium, stopping to welcome each client from the center with a quick word and a handshake.
Musical performances were delivered by the Women's Choir, the MHS Jazz Band and MHS Concert Choir.
The assembly ended with a special holiday performance by the MHS Pizzazz Poms.