Scholars Bid Fond Farewell to Lampeter-Strasburg

From left: Third in Class Kelsey McNaul, Valedictorian Ethan Emmert,
Salutatorian Marah Brubaker
Photo courtesy of Anne Harnish
Ethan Emmert, Marah Brubaker, and Kelsey McNaul finished first, second, and third respectively in the Class of 2015. Although all acknowledge the gravity of their achievement, all appreciate that other accomplishments transcend the impact of what Brubaker summarizes as “all that I have worked for (academically) during high school ... trimmed down into a single number,” a concept she called “quite strange”.

“While it is certainly a pleasure and an honor to be recognized as number two, it has never been about a ranking for me,” she says. “I have definitely seen students pursue only recognition and prestige, but that was never my motivation. To me, salutatorian is merely a side effect of the long hours and hard work. I loved learning and challenging myself during high school, and getting recognition is just a fortunate consequence.”

Emmert concurs, commenting, “It’s really an honor to be able to have my high rank to show for all my hard work.”

McNaul says, “I know there are so many more important things than class rank, but I am really proud to be finishing third in the class. It shows how much of my hard work has paid off.”

Each of the three was heavily involved in clubs and extracurricular activities, and listed those experiences as among their fondest high school memories.

“Extracurriculars were really an amazing part of my experience,” says Emmert. “It was so rewarding to be able to challenge myself in clubs like Quiz Bowl and Model UN with other students.”

McNaul also cites the social aspect of clubs as a positive experience of high school.

“I met so many friends and was able to accomplish so many wonderful things throughout the clubs at our high school,” she says.

Brubaker, a self-professed nerd, actually finds her fondest memories in the classroom.

“I loved arguing back points from teachers and crafting writings … and finding rotifiers under the microscope in AP Bio,” she says. “High school was great because it exposed me to so many topics, and I realized that I loved them all, which has since led to an extreme inability to choose a major.”

Long hours spent studying for AP exams as well as required classes laden with busy work ranked among the trio’s least fond memories.

Each realized that they will leave a legacy at Lampeter-Strasburg.

Emmert hopes his legacy varies by group. “I don’t know if I want to leave one schoolwide legacy. I’d rather be remembered by different things,” he says. “By my teachers for my work ethic, and by my friends for my sense of humor, and by the clubs I was in for my devotion.”

Brubaker acknowledges her desired legacy is somewhat “cheesy”. Nevertheless, she says, “I would want to leave a legacy as a student who truly loved learning. A student who drowned herself in AP classes because she sought a challenge. I want to be remembered as a student who never gave up integrity for recognition and always stayed true to who she was.”

McNaul hopes her legacy transcends a personal reputation, and extends to a school-wide culture: “The legacy I hope to leave at L-S is one of kindness and acceptance. I hope that as years continue at L-S, all students, regardless of their beliefs, lifestyle, race, and sexuality feel welcome and accepted for who they are at our school.”

Each also has advice for students whose educational journey at L-S has not yet reached is culmination.

Simple and direct, Emmert advises students to “just try to make the most out of every day you have in high school.”

Brubaker was admittedly slightly more verbose. She says, “My advice would probably be that it’s not all about the ranking. High school shapes who you are and gives you an opportunity to explore who you want to be. Take the classes you want to take, not the ones that will inflate your GPA. Don’t get caught up in thinking that it’s all about a number. You are so much more than a digit on a page, and colleges will see that. I promise.”

McNaul’s advice is certainly congruous. “Take advantage of the work study opportunity,” she urges. “Put yourself out there and explore a career field. For me, it was the most rewarding experience.”

Emmert plans to continue his studies at Haverford College, Brubaker at Amherst College, and McNaul at Washington College in Maryland.

See additional graduation coverage here.

-- Benjamin Pontz, Editor-In-Chief

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