MANDATA — Smiles abounded as Line Mountain’s 66th graduating class of 58 seniors made its way across Glenn Ressler Field at Eagle Stadium on a warm spring evening to turn the final page of their high school years and mark the beginning of the next chapter of their lives.
At 7:15 p.m. the graduating class left the high school auditorium to take one final customary lap together through the hallowed halls of their school before heading outdoors to take part in their graduation ceremony. At 7:30 p.m. they marched into the stadium grounds before a packed-house audience of faculty, family and friends.
As they spoke to their fellow students, class president Delaney Klinger, valedictorian Alex Schreffler and salutatorian Courtney Kieffer all offered sound advice, while expressing optimism toward the future.
Klinger began the proceedings with her welcome address. “My first piece of advice is to never settle or sell yourself short,” Klinger advised her fellow classmates. She also told them to “Be open to mistakes” and “Stop dreaming and start doing.”
Schreffler, a native of South Korea, who was adopted by an American family in 2001 when he was only four months old, followed with a stirring speech, filled with gratitude for the opportunities afforded him in the land of freedom.
“My greatest opportunity is one that I didn’t even have a say in and was my ability to come to the United States,” he expressed. “I’m grateful to be in the United States and am blessed to have had the opportunity of going through my 13 years of schooling with such a great group of classmates. Don’t take the small things for granted because in the long run, they may have a huge impact.”
Kieffer, who was the final student speaker of the commencement exercises, emphasized the importance of hard work to her classmates. She compared life’s journey to a path of stepping stones.
“The only thing that separates a person sitting here today from the person they want to be is what they do and the work they put in,” said Kieffer. “The most significant path of your life is the middle, which gets you from where you are to where you want to be and is where all the hard work and effort take place.”
Fellow seniors, Stevie Snyder and Colby Paczkoskie, each offered a few brief thoughts before receiving their diplomas.
Snyder summed it up as best she could. “We’ve had some rough patches throughout the year but Mr. Campbell, who is one of my favorite cousins, has always been there to help us through it.”
“I may wear this outfit for Halloween,” jokingly remarked Paczcoskie to his friends.
Class co-advisors Shelley Herb-Fausey and Paula Schick, described the class of 2019 as “fun-loving, artistic, and very close-knit.”
High school principal Jeff Roadcap provided a few closing thoughts for his senior class.
“This class has definitely been a very enjoyable class. I can’t remember being cross with any one of them, but then again, my memory’s not as good as it used to be,” he said with a smile before concluding with, “Make the most of your time.”
Superintendent Dave Campbell added, “Learn to live, live to learn. Class of 2019, you’ve been a joy to all of us.”