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ILHS grads urged to stand up for what they believe in

The Inter-Lakes High School Class of 2010 marches in for its graduation. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
June 23, 2010
MEREDITH — Gratitude and perseverance were some of the lessons given to graduating seniors at Inter-Lake's High School's graduation.

Students assembled at the Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion on Sunday to receive their diplomas and have a few more moments with their friends, teachers, and families.

"Today we celebrate our common goal," said Class President Tim Quinney. "This wouldn't be possible without the love and support that's around us."

Quinney thanked parents, teachers, and administrators as well as the School Board, on which he served as student representative.

"I know how passionate you are about our education," Quinney said.

He also brought class advisors Kristine McGurkin and Joyce Warburton on stage to thank them.

Student speaker Jacob Steiss talked about the importance of gratitude. He said he watched his brother graduate from Paris Island and enter the Marines. He said his brother told him Marines are told to fight for the Marine next to them.

"This made me realize I would not want to fight for a lot of Americans either," Steiss said, saying he does not want to think his brother would be risking his life for consumerism, shallowness, and many other negative aspects of American culture. "I want to know people like my brother aren't dying so we can spend money or go to the beach."

Steiss spoke about how human interaction has become formal and "community has slowly given way to society." As a result, humans need to reconnect with the human community and gratitude is a part of that.

"Saying thank you is a lifestyle, a code of ethics, and a social responsibility," Steiss said. "IOU all that I can give in a world that needs it."

Student speaker Ryan Chappuis talked about how he was coaching a younger student. When the student complained that Chappuis hit the ball too hard, Chappuis said he replied saying, "Life's not fair."

"I have no doubt you have spoken these words," Chappuis said. "I also bet not many of you have heard the reply 'Yes it is.'"

He said he asked for the student's reasoning and received the reply, "Would you rather be alive or dead?"

"If there's one thing I've learned in high school is that stubbornness is one of the essential elements of humanity," Chappuis said, saying that leads to perseverance, success, and survival. "If you never try you will never have the chance to succeed. As long as we stick to our guns, stand up for what we believe in, we will make life fair for us."

English teacher Lori Donahue gave the commencement address, talking about the latest book by poet Mary Oliver entitled "Why I Wake Early." Donahue said this describes her routine as she wakes around 3:30 a.m. and enjoys taking extra time to take care of paperwork and her morning drive by the lakes on the way to school, among other incentives.

"I am fortunate to wake early to go to a place where friends nourish me and colleagues challenge me to do our very best," Donohue said. "I wake early where young people remind me of the values of laughter. I wake early to go to a place where every day confirms my faith and trust in our goals."

Donahue said this moment is the culmination of four years of work and all of the students have left an impact and a legacy on the school.

"Trust that you too will end up where you're supposed to be," Donahue said. "I have such faith that you will all do great things."

Class Treasurer Caleigh Warburton announced that the class gift would be an expansion of the patio area next to the school as well as a few new picnic tables.

Principal Patricia Kennelly and Assistant Principal William Athanas presented awards to a few graduating seniors. Quinney received the Alumni Loyalty Cup, the American Legion Post 33 Prize, and the Meredith Rotary Business Award. Steiss received the Huntress All Around Achievement Award and the Meredith Rotary Math Award. Caleigh Warburton received the Joseph F. Smith, Jr. Award and the Inter-Lakes Chapter of the National Honor Society English Achievement Award. Amanda Parks received the Roger M. Wyatt Memorial Trophy and the Daughters of the American Revolution award. Deanna Jurius was given the American Legion Post 33 Citizen Prize and the Babe Ruth Award, which was also given to Kevin Brady. The Technology Award was given to Justin Hurd and Corbin Shuffleton; Meredith Cashman and Harrison Huston received the Robert Pottle Memorial Trophy; and the Faculty Award was given to Chappuis and Kay-Lee Allen.

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