Friendship’s Bonds Shall Ne’er Be Broken
|The Class of 2015 emerges from behind|
About 10 minutes before graduation was set to commence, the Class of 2015 emerged from the crest of the hill beyond Martin Meylin, processing one final time as a class before lives of independence took root. An audience much larger than some expected thanks to weather’s cooperation observed as the class filed into its seats, ushered in by the L-S String Ensemble’s rendition of the venerable Pomp and Circumstance.
Student speaker Julia Weigel opened the ceremony by humorously recounting the seniors’ 311,320 minutes of high school … in about four minutes and 54 seconds. She commended the students’ ambitions, and urged them to live lives with perseverance – or as her family calls it, stick-to-it-ive-ness – embodying the true spirit of a Pioneer.
|The L-S orchestra plays "Pomp and|
Circumstance" as graduates process
Assistant Principal Mr. Benjamin Feeney was next to take the microphone. Feeney officiated at graduation in his first year at L-S, as Mr. Spencer had a child graduating at Garden Spot, and Dr. Rimmer’s daughter Mallory graduated during the ceremony. Unfazed, Feeney congratulated the class on its achievements, noting that it helped L-S High School earn a silver medal from US News and World Report for three consecutive years, and additional recognition from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Feeney thanked the students for welcoming him into the L-S family, something he realized was more than hyperbole early in his tenure. He closed his speech by quoting both his coffee cup and Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go, and challenged the seniors to begin each day with the mindset, “How can I make a difference today?”
|L-S senior vocalists perform|
"The Call" by Regina Spektor
Subsequently, a group of senior vocalists offered L-S one final mellifluous remembrance, proclaiming that there was “no need to say goodbye” with Regina Spektor’s “The Call”, specially arranged by graduate Aaron Smith.
Nick Mummau then took the stage as the class’s featured graduation speaker. He analogized school to “the wild”. Elementary school was a desert; students “did not ponder the end because it was so far away”. Middle school was a jungle, a “never-ending jigsaw puzzle” filled with memorable experiences. It led students to enter high school “more naïve than we ever imagined.” Fondly recalling an embarrassing moment at the Homecoming Carnival at which John Davis dropped Kelsey McNaul during a skit, Mummau noted that some students waited a while to make their “bang”. He closed by telling the class that it already had left a legacy at L-S, and that “the past we cannot change, but the future has unlimited possibilities.”
Feeney proceeded to announce those earning top scholastic achievement, the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and third in class award. Ethan David Emmert was named Valedictorian. After some awkward maneuvering waiting for the photographer to take a picture, Feeney named Marah Lucy Brubaker salutatorian. Having improved the photograph’s choreography from his first experience, there was less of an awkward pause before Kelsey Nicole McNaul was named third in class.
|Toren Campbell walks down the ramp|
after receiving his diploma
Brief remarks from superintendent Dr. Kevin Peart soon gave way to the class roll call and awarding of ceremonial diplomas. Class treasurer Danielle Franklin and secretary Olivia Gleason announced the names of the 245 graduating seniors, and the crowd largely maintained a respectful tenor, notwithstanding sporadic outbursts of congratulations for a few graduates.
School Board President Jeffrey Mills’ proclamation that the class of 2015 had duly graduated high school catalyzed an eruption in raucous applause.
As class president Brian Joseph Barnhart gave the class the direction to turn its tassels, symbolically recognizing them as graduates, commencement drew to a close.
Just one hour after the ceremony began, the young men and women who entered as students exited as graduates. And as the resplendent sunshine gloriously set over the visitors’ bleachers at Pioneer Field, so too did the Class of 2015’s time at Lampeter-Strasburg. But just as the sun’s setting signals the end of one day to prepare for the dawn of a new one, the ceremony signals the end of one chapter in 245 graduates’ lives in preparation for the dawn of another.