Bermudian Springs High School’s Class of 2023 is poised to make the world a better place, valedictorian Katherine Elliott said Thursday during commencement exercises.
“You are light in this world, and you are the change the world needs to see,” she said. “Do not cower at intimidating opportunities, even if you are the smallest voice in the room.”
All students have a role in changing the world, she said.
“No matter what you might be doing next year, whether it’s college, a trade school, working, the military, or self-improvement, each and every one of us is destined to change some part of the world,” she said.
The class includes 122 graduates, about 30 less than average, according to Principal Jon DeFoe.
The class proved its excellence by adapting to remote education and other challenges during the pandemic, and by making Elliott feel welcome when she moved into the area two years ago, she said.
“Every single person has shown me how wonderful our community truly can be,” Elliott said.
Elliott named numerous classmates and listed their virtues, but said “even if I didn’t say your name, if I have seen you in the hallway or interacted with you in some way, there is something that I have truly admired about you, and I mean that.”
“Every single one of you has the power to reach for the stars during your life. Take it. Use it. Cherish it. So many of you are so much greater than you realize, and I admire so many of you on a daily basis,” she said.
Elliott plans to study architectural engineering at Penn State University, DeFoe said.
Salutatorian Andrea Guiher expressed equal confidence in her classmates’ ability to mold a better future.
“Each graduate sitting here has so many unique gifts and talents and each of these have a valuable part in making the world into the diverse place it is today,” she said. “All of us have an idea of what we want our future to look like and while our plans are probably not the same, but that doesn’t make what anyone aspires to be any less important.”
The graduates persevere, she said.
“You give your all and when you get knocked down, you get back up again. Why? Because it’s your passion. You want to. Your passion and your goals outweigh whatever life throws at you,” she said.
Guiher plans to study computer and information science at Messiah University, DeFoe said.
Class President Amelia Peters also foresaw a bright future.
“Bermudian Springs has laid the foundation for a lifetime of achievement and created lifelong relationships,” she said.
As did other speakers, Peters thanked administrators, faculty, staff, coaches, family members, and friends.
“Although a lot of the work is accomplished behind the scenes, the impact of your efforts is evident here tonight,” she said.
The class also honored the memory of Andrew Karabinos Jr., who lost his life in a vehicle crash last July.
An empty seat held his place among his graduating classmates. Family members accepted his diploma posthumously.
A Northeast Adams Fire and Emergency Medical Services truck was parked outside the ceremony. Aboard it was a placard with Karabinos’ photo. He was a junior member of both Northeast and the York Springs Fire Company.
After seniors processed into the high school stadium, graduate Noah Bish offered the invocation, asking the class be granted “courage, strength, love, and wisdom.”
DeFoe awarded medals. Choir seniors sang “Unwritten.” The National Anthem and Bermudian Springs Alma Mater were also sung.
Bermudian Springs School District board President Michael Wool, district Superintendent Shane Hotchkiss, and DeFoe presented diplomas.
Olivia Kuntz offered the benediction.
Flowers were provided by the high school greenhouse.
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