Ben Pontz and Sam Ingram to take the stage one last time to speak at Graduation

Throughout high school, both Ben Pontz and Sam Ingram have utilized their musical and acting talents to captivate crowds at the Performing Arts Center over the years. Ingram sang with the Madrigals, concert choir, jazz band, and numerous musicals. Pontz joined the action on stage to act as dry-humored host for events from Model UN’s "Talent Wars" to the "Tonight Show" at Mini-Thon to the Mr. Pioneer competition; he also has an extensive resume in the music program. But now, as the school year draws to a close, these individuals must take the stage one last time as L-S students to share some parting words before they move on to what lies ahead.
Ingram and Pontz have played in
jazz band together all four years
of high school

Ingram will speak as an introduction to the ceremony. Her speech focuses on how we do not know what exactly is going to happen years down the road, but we can hope and that alone can push us forward ... she got the idea from a predictive drawing she created in third grade.

“We drew pictures of what we thought we’d look like in high school,” she reminisces. “I talked about that picture and how I thought I was going to look a certain way. It kind of plays into how we think things are going to go a certain way, but they don’t. Like, say, you look at a year, and something bad happened, and you think, ‘Ugh, that year sucked!’. But if you think about it from a different point of view, you may think, ‘Wow, that year was really good!’... You may think you know what’s going to happen, but you really don’t. But you can always hope that something good is going to happen.”

Appropriately, her speech bears the title “Not Knowing But Hoping”.

The optimism in the message Ingram will present should come as no surprise. Every speaker must memorize their speech, but Ingram’s experience in drama makes talking to the audience simple in her mind.
Sam Ingram will give the opening speech
at the Class of 2016 Graduation Ceremony;
her speech is entitled
"Not Knowing But Hoping"

"I love speaking in front of crowds," she shares.

It is no wonder, then, that Ingram will be studying Musical Theater at Lancaster Bible College this fall. Sam is used to acting out a broad spectrum of emotions for theatrical pieces, but this piece produces raw feeling for her, and she hopes that the audience will feel the same way.

"Sometimes, when I went over it, it would make me cry… I don’t know," she admits. "Maybe it will make people cry. Laugh, cry, think about your life."

Ingram grins when she shares that she added some movie quotes to lighten the mood. As for any last thoughts to add, Ingram energetically expressed, "I’m just really excited. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while… I can’t wait to do it!"

After Ingram’s speech, the ceremony begins. Later comes the keynote speech, which will be delivered by Benjamin Pontz. Ben has been a pillar of our high school, especially during his senior year. He has led almost every activity in which he has participated, and notably has changed L-S News into the tour de force that it is today. He plans to attend Gettysburg College, with ambitions to pursue political science, pre-law, or anything else in the vicinity that may strike his fancy. His speech directs attention to these areas of interest, and he believes that the message delivered could definitely impact the departing seniors.
Ben Pontz will give the keynote address during the Class of
2016 Graduation Ceremony; his speech is entitled
 "A Call To Leadership"

"The title is ‘A Call To Leadership’," he says. "In looking particularly at the American political system, I think that there needs to be more accountability and responsibility. Given that the people graduating are the next generation, I feel that the message could be very well-directed."

With the insanity swirling around the presidential race of 2016, Pontz’s piece seems highly appropriate. However, he still added some of his trademark dry wit into the speech to make it his own.

"It started out being kind of cynical, but then I took that cynicism and channeled it into an uplifting, positive message," he professes.

To the crowd's delight or sadness -- time will tell -- Pontz has only five minutes to perform his memorized speech, and he himself admitted the challenge presented by this time limit.

"I think that it’s going to be no surprise that I would like to talk for more than five minutes," he says. "Everyone will get to see how it turns out, and to say that I know how it’s going to turn out would be a lie at this point. But we’ll see how it goes."

And that is a perfect statement to sum up life after graduation for these and all of the other wonderful, talented seniors leaving to take on the world. We’ll see how it goes. These inspired speeches -- chosen by a board of faculty -- bring the presenters one step forward on their way to greatness, and they lead the way for hundreds of other students just like them, scared for what the future may hold, sad about leaving the school they have frequented for years, but also amazed by how far they have come and happy about moving on to the next stage in life. 

The seniors will be missed, but with the fire of leadership and hope offered by Ben and Sam as well as the confidence of a future burning inside of them, they will step down from that stage and boldly walk into the lives of a defining generation.

--Lillian Murr, School News Editor

Edited: BE

Note: Because this article features our editor-in-chief, two additional staffers were responsible for its editorial review to ensure editorial integrity.

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