Graduation day a stepping stone, not the finish line

Student speakers Sunday during commencement exercises at West Liberty-Salem High School downplayed the significance of the ceremony.



Class valedictorian Mollie Etgen told her peers that when they recall their high school years later on, they probably won’t remember the gymnasium as the place where their graduation was conducted.

Rather, they’ll remember the gym for Friday night basketball games, pep rallies and gym class, “or where we’d cut through if we’re running late for class,” Mollie said.

Graduation day is often considered one of the biggest days of a person’s life, “but it’s nowhere near the biggest,” she said. “Remember the past, and anticipate the future.”

Salutatorian Rose Yoder reminded her fellow graduates that they’re hardly the first high school class to ascend into adulthood, but if they follow God’s call, they’ll realize the plan for their lives.

“We’re going to grow up no matter what,” she said. “This is not a new concept.

“Wherever God sends you, go and embrace it.”

Mollie echoed those sentiments.

“This is an exciting day, but it’s not a finish line,” she said. “It’s a stepping stone.

“Each of us has our own place in this world.”

Mollie concluded by thanking the community for its support of the schools.

“We’re lucky to live in a community that cares about students’ education and dreams,” she said.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of J.C. Swartz, who would have been a 2014 graduate, but died in the fall of his seventh-grade year following a lengthy illness.

Senior choral and band members performed.

Officers of the Class of 2014 were Mollie Etgen, president; Abbey Siegenthaler, vice president; Carly Lowry, secretary; and Caty Shoemaker, treasurer.

The class motto: iGraduated.

FRONT PAGE PHOTO: West Liberty-Salem senior choir members perform Sunday during commencement exercises staged in the high school gymnasium. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)