Advice to the class of 2012
By Wayne E. Rivet
Valedictorian Bryanna Plummer likens the Lake Region Class of 2012 to that of a chameleon.
“We adapt to change without even knowing it. Most recently, we’ve had to deal with construction, but overall, I can tell you that we did as — best — as we could to deal with the changes,” she said during Sunday’s graduation ceremony inside the high school gymnasium. “This skill of adapting to change will come in handy, whether you are going to college, the military, the workforce, taking a year off or traveling.”
While high school has its fair share of great memories as well as moments to forget, Plummer impressed upon classmates to hold on tightly to the good times and friendships made.
“Even if you don’t remember how to find the area of a triangle in 20 years, you will remember the friendships you’ve made; how great you are at dealing with changes; and the times you laughed until you cried,” she said. “I ask that you remember the wise words that Ms. Hessian leaves every class with, ‘Be good people, do good things.’ Keep this simple advice in mind and you’ll go far. Do what makes you happy. Remember to keep an open mind, and never forget where you are from.”
With graduation falling on Father’s Day, LRHS Principal Ted Finn told the crowd that seeing a son or daughter reach a significant milestone in their young lives must be quite the gift. “I’d say, priceless!” he said.
Finn told graduates he admires NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s outlook on life and recalled a comment made by the former Heisman trophy winner — “I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know who holds my future.”
“I ask you, members of the Class of 2012, who holds your future?” Finn asked. “What influences are you going to allow into your lives now that you are adults and are responsible for your own actions?”
He questioned graduates saying, “Will you run away when the going gets tough, or will you have the confidence in your abilities to overcome whatever obstacles await in your life?”
A high school diploma, Finn said, is one of the keys to success in life. But, learning does not stop on graduation day. “You have much to learn as you enter the next phase of your lives,” the principal said. Finn then cited a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.”
“So, get out there and enjoy life. Make it count,” Finn said. “Take advantage of the education you have received from this community; never forget the love and support of your parents and family members; take healthy risks and pursue new challenges; be lifelong learners; and to never forget those famous words of Forrest Gump, ‘My momma said, life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.’ I’ll just add one piece to that by saying you’ll never get if you don’t try.”
Salutatorian Emily Bartlett told classmates that if their future course is somewhat unclear right now, it is okay.
“Dreams will change, because four years ago I wasn’t the person I am today, just like many of you,” she said. “In another four years, who knows what else is going to be different? Maybe I’ll go blonde, maybe you’ll join a convent. Maybe not. Who knows? That’s the idea, though. We aren’t supposed to be aware of what we should expect in this life. We just have to rise after we fall, grab our wands and remember what Professor Albus Dumbledore told us, ‘Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.’”
Bartlett closed her speech by telling classmates to be truthful and sincere when they are asked by others what they plan to do in the future. She concluded with a line from the smash hit movie, “The Hunger Games.”
“As long as we grow up and not old, we can still conquer whatever we desire,” she said. “Good luck with whatever you choose to be Class of 2012, and may the odds be forever in your favor.”
When it came time for Honor Essayist Rachel Wandishin to write her speech, she wanted the address to be both meaningful and memorable. Remembering accomplishments and experiences over the past four years, Wandishin discovered a common theme — involvement, both in her community and her high school.
She encouraged classmates to make a difference in the world by being an effective citizen — one who volunteers and one who becomes involved in civic groups such as the Lions or Rotary Clubs.
“I’m sure everyone sitting here feels very passionate about one thing or another. There are groups for so many different causes that everyone can find a place where they belong if they want to,” Wandishin said. “These kinds of groups directly affect the lives of young people in a positive way…The greatest reward of volunteer work is knowing you have changed the life of someone.”
Wandishin closed her speech saying, “Life should not be a spectator sport…It is the people who feel strongly enough to stand up for what they believe in that make the biggest difference. So, I challenge you, my fellow classmates, to enter the world as effective citizens and become involved in causes you think are worth fighting for, to not be afraid to stand up for the things that you believe in.”
Class President Jacob Fleck kept his address certainly on the light side.
“If I could ask everyone in the gym, and all of you watching this on TV, to please raise your right hand and touch the person to your right…Yeah, so now I can tell people that my graduation speech was so good it touched everyone that heard it,” he said.
Fleck recounted some of the memorable moments including a chemistry experiment that ended in singed hair. Like many classmates, Fleck couldn’t wait for graduation day to arrive, but when he was finally living the moment, he felt an unexpected sadness.
“I’ve spent my entire education wishing that it would be over and now that it is, I wish I could hold on for just a bit longer,” he said.
After quoting Dr. Seuss — “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” — Fleck said the memories he had collected over the past 13 years will keep him smiling for the rest of the summer, maybe even longer “if I didn’t have to go to college in the fall. Oh, just for the record, I am going to college…sorry if you lost that bet.”