BY ALEX BATTITORI
Members of the Girard High School Class of 2017 officially graduated to “alumni” status at their graduation ceremony held in the Ted R. Taylor Gymnasium Sunday, May 21, at 3 p.m.
Students entered the gym to Pomp and Circumstance, performed by the GHS band. After a brief introduction from Principal Todd Ferguson, seniors in band joined their bandmates for a performance of Rise of the Vulcan.
And then it was time for speeches.
The first was given by Ethan Doherty, who challenged his classmates to live a life worth remembering:
“There is an Albert Einstein quote which fits here today. He said that insanity is defined as doing something over and over again, and still expecting different results. It may seem like we’ve been doing the same thing over, and over, and over again for the past thirteen years, but now to all of you I say don’t stay the same. Try new activities; meet new people. Just please, do anything to not go insane. Your job is to make people remember you. Have you left your mark on GHS? I know you have left your mark on me, and I would not be the person I am today if not for all of you. For the future, I challenge you to make that change, and leave your mark wherever you go.”
The second was given by Eric Wilson. He too opened with an encouragement to his classmates to live their lives to the fullest—to “skin broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out,” and concluded thus:
“As we walk across this stage and out these doors, remember where you were from. Remember the lessons we have been taught. Remember the people sitting next to you today. Hopefully we can all be one day together for a class reunion or two. However this may possibly be the last time we are all together in the same room for the rest of our lives.
“We’ve grown up around each other; new friends will come into your lives, but remember those you have made here. Remember those who have supported you. Remember your teachers. Remember the memories. Remember your home.
“This graduation is not an end, but simply a new beginning. Take what you know: the experiences, the education, everything. Make the most out of every day you are given. And then, skin broadside throughout a long, exciting life full of success, adventure, family, friends, and class reunions, proclaiming at the end, “wow, what a ride.”
School Board President Tony Stonerock then took the stage to address the students. He noted that this class will be one of the last to include students born before the ending of the last millennium. In their lifetimes, they have been witness to history being made and all the triumphs and tragedies that go along with it—from the 9/11 attacks, to Barack Obama being elected president, to the Miracle on the Hudson.
Then, Principal Ferguson returned to the podium to announce the graduates. As they walked across the stage and returned to their seats, diplomas in hand, he took the time to recognize those who had made it possible for the seniors to make it to the end—parents and teachers. Each group received a heartfelt round of applause from the audience.
“Thank you graduates of 2017,” he said, “for being such an exceptional group of leaders. You’ve made your community proud. Good luck to you in the future. This concludes our commencement ceremony; it is now my pleasure to present the graduating class of 2017.”
Congratulations, GHS Class of 2017, and good luck!