G-AHS Class of 2010 receives diplomas

PAT FRIDGEN
The Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2010 assembled on Kaley Field for commencement Saturday morning.

Kaley Field was packed Saturday morning as family and friends watched 227 seniors graduate as the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2010. Warm temperatures prompted spectators to furiously fan their programs June 12, particularly in the home team bleachers as they caught the sun face-on. But breezes also moderated the heat and provided a pleasant environment for the commencement exercises.

Daniel Bitner shared the Valedictorian spot of his great-grandmother, Mabel Rebecca Kuhn, who addressed her classmates in 1921 and later married Orville Riley Bitner, also a Greencastle native. Bitner assured his peers that while his ancestor had no idea the Depression, a second world war and a civil rights movement would occur, so they could not predict what lay beyond 2010. "We know as little about our future challenges as she did," he said. "We have the bliss of ignorance. The future won't be what we expected."

Knowing that globalization was part of their nomenclature, he encouraged the youth to follow the motto of the high school club Tumani Ambassadors, 'Be the change you want to see in the world.' With the great suffering in less developed countries and economic woes all over, he reminded them that people in the past met their challenges. "Let us learn from the greatest generation. We have the strength. We must work against those bent on destruction. We must approach life with a passion for unity as the Class of 1921 did," Bitner concluded.

Acting class president Jesse Herman also provided comments, welcoming the crowd to the special day. He said the occasion required him to "recognize the incredible contributions of so many along the way." He thanked parents and families for their support, the faculty and administration who invested in their future, and the classmates who would have lasting memories of their time together. He finished with a statement similar to one favored by his father Mark Herman, principal of the middle school, "Make it a great life, or not. That choice belongs to you."

Featured speaker and 1992 graduate, State Representative Rob Kauffman, dated a few teachers still on staff, Mike Hussack and Sean Kolanowski. He noted that many of his classmates returned to the district to teach.

To the graduates he said, "The days and years truly fly by. Don't waste a day. Impact the world in a positive way, as productive members, leaders and mentors. Make some difference that you lived at all."

While Kauffman was voted most-likely to succeed in his senior yearbook, he said success was not measured by money or titles, but by the lives the students would touch and the growth they would achieve.

"Be a citizen of the world," he stressed. "Impact your fellow man for good."

Superintendent Dr. C. Gregory Hoover also gave advice to the graduates, clad in their blue and white robes. Because his firstborn was a senior, Hoover knew the class well. He remembered that the first day of kindergarten he put his son on the bus, then followed in his car to see Christian get off the bus at school. Back then all of the youngsters approached learning with excitement. He wanted that attitude to continue.

"The opportunities are there. Take advantage of them to learn with enthusiasm," Hoover said. "Congratulations and Godspeed."

Celebrate

Prior to the distribution of diplomas, high school principal Ed Rife shared words of wisdom the class had written to the freshmen. "Be nice, all right?" "Don't talk back, do your work and have fun." "Stay away from drugs and alcohol. They'll only hurt you in the end." And finally, "Try to wear deodorant and shower on a daily basis. Smelling good is a way to make lifelong friends."

As school board president Arnie Jansen declared the seniors graduates as the Class of 2010, cheers erupted, and silly string, confetti, smoke bombs and beach balls flew through the air, along with graduation caps.

The big moment in their lives was at hand, celebrated by people who watched them grow up. Ed and June Marshall saw their next-to-last of nine grandchildren graduate. "We're really proud of Denton," they said.

Becky Ausherman watched nephew Kolby Martin cross the podium, alongside her husband Jim and son Cody. "It's another phase in Kolby's life." She enjoyed the outdoor ceremony. "More people can attend."

Both sets of grandparents were present for Dianna Poper. Fran and Dave Ramer and Carl and Emma Jean Poper were hot, but preferred the setting to the cafeteria reserved for overflow seating at a previous graduation, held inside due to inclement weather.

The young adults looked forward to their future.

"I finally don't have to worry about homework," said Kent Hansen.

Sarah Marschner was happy for the freedom. "I won't miss a thing about high school."

Perry McLaughlin and Samantha Cherry were each going out to eat with their families. The day was a turning point for them.

"It's the start of something new, an exciting time in my life," said Cherry.

McLaughlin was anxious to move forward. "This is a step into reality." He was also headed to Senior Week at the beach with friends.

Part of the program

The formal ceremony was made possible with the assistance of many groups and individuals who participated in the exercises. The Concert Band, under the direction of Samuel Forney, performed 'Incantations' as the prelude, 'Pomp and Circumstance' for the processional, 'The Star Spangled Banner' with Sallianne Crawford and Evan Zimmerman as drum majors, and 'Huldigungsmarsch' as the recessional.

The Senior Choir, under the direction of Martha Fuchs, sang 'Time of Your Life' with Sarah Jansen accompanying on guitar, and selected singers presented the Alma Mater. Pastor Stacy Crawford offered the invocation and benediction.

Rife announced that the class had earned $1.1 million in scholarships and awards, 23 students graduated in January, two a year early, 45 had a GPA of 3.5 or higher, 15 had entered the military, and 620 transcripts had been requested by institutions of higher education.

The Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2010 erupted in celebration.