June 12, 2013BETHLEHEM—A purposeful life full of giving was one of the messages of Friday's Profile graduation.
As if in anticipation of the message, the class of 2013 marched purposefully into the Profile School gym Friday night to the sounds of Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance as enthusiastic family and friends cheered them on.
Principal Mike Kelley welcomed them and said he would miss them, that they always added a little spice to things around the school. He noted that after graduation the graduates would be going on to college, work or the armed forces, and that with the next step there is both anxiety and excitement.
"The world awaits, grab hold of it," Kelley said.
Class President Ian Bolton said he had been writing his speech in his head for the previous three and a half years. At first it was going to be a roast of various people, he said but Bolton's mother advised him not to burn any bridges—advice he decided to follow. Instead he thanked several people for helping him over the years. Among them was Tom Cuddihy, who was retiring from teaching English after 25 years.
Salutatorian Isabelle Eyman said that at Profile she had been taught not to conform to the average idea of a typical high school student, "rather emphasizing those characteristics which made us an atypical student body."
Eyman reflected on her class and noted that over the years the term "apathy" had been used in connection with them—unfairly she said. Though the word has a negative connotation, she said she and her classmates used it as a motivation.
"But what if we stopped for a minute and considered whether or not 'acceptance' could be synonymous with 'apathy?'" Eyman asked. That acceptance helped them appreciate everything they had done up to that point in their lives. She hoped that her classmates "go into the world not with a determination to achieve greatness, but the determination to be happy."
After a rousing rendition of the Ndebele folk song, "Shosholoza" the remaining speakers continued.
Valedictorian Madeline Hansalik echoed some of that advice using visual aids—a lupine and a pinecone. Each life is important and has a purpose, she said.
"There is a reason for each of us, and that is exciting," Hansalik said. She said that starting on that day each of them could search for their purpose in life, why they are here.
She quoted Einstein as to how to view life. "There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle." Hansalik advised her classmates to live as if everything is a miracle.
Holding up the lupine as an example she noted the numbers of pairs and the numbers of levels of petals, and said the spiraling patterns of the pinecone make the same numbers. How beautiful, she said.
She said it would be a shame "if we forgot that our existence is such a gift."
Teacher and honored guest Josh Lawton gave the soon to be graduates "The Last Lesson," as he called his speech.
"You need to focus on the process of giving rather than getting," Lawton said. Quoting Winston Churchill, Lawton concluded, "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
After receiving their anxiously awaited diplomas and tossing their caps in the air, the graduates practically ran out of the gym, where they met joyous friends and families in a receiving line.