As Bermudian Springs High School celebrated its graduation ceremony on Friday evening, seniors reminisced about their school years while contemplating what their futures might hold.
During his speech, valedictorian Ethan Beachy fondly recalled his time at Bermudian Springs.
“As a student throughout high school, middle school and even elementary school, I looked forward to the day that school was finally over for good,” Beachy said. “Now that I have experienced all there is to experience, I am not sure the end of school is a thing I should have looked forward to. Quite frankly, I loved my time here at Bermudian Springs and I hope every one of my classmates feels the same way.”
Beachy recalled several memories of his time from elementary through high school.
“These memories and experiences are so special to me, but there is one thing even more important that I have gained from Bermudian Springs: the lasting relationships and friendships,” Beachy said.
Beachy thanked the staff and faculty of the district for their support. He also said he hopes friendships can continue after the students leave the high school.
“I hope I can stay close with every single one of you, even as unrealistic as that may be,” Beachy said. “No matter what happens, I will always cherish the time we have spent together.”
He also credited his family for “holding me to such a high standard but also giving me endless support.”
According to notes provided by the district, Beachy plans to study physics at Bucknell University. He had a cumulative grade point average of 102.716%.
Salutatorian Amber Nickey also spoke, saying the years seemed to go by quickly.
“It feels like just yesterday I got lost walking to class during freshman year, seeing seniors who I was certain were at least 10 years older than me,” Nickey said. “But look at us now, seniors ourselves. Now is the time to reminisce about all of the unforgettable moments from the past four years.”
Nickey had a list of fun memories, including “football games, spirit weeks, powderpuff games, concerts and even the late nights studying.”
She told her fellow graduates to enjoy the memories but to look forward to the next part of their lives.
“We will begin the portion of our lives where we learn,” Nickey said. “For some of us, that means going to college and studying hard, learning as much as possible about our chosen professions. For others, that means training and learning how to be successful in the workforce. And for some, that still means trying new things and learning what makes you happy.”
Nickey said the students would leave their high school textbooks behind but would find new concepts to learn in the years ahead.
“We will learn to make tough decisions, like when it is right for us to leave home and take full responsibility for our own lives,” Nickey said. “We will learn how to connect with new people and learn that it is okay to outgrow old friends. Some of these lessons will certainly be difficult to accept, but no matter where the next few years take us, we all will undoubtedly learn more about ourselves, our passions and our goals.”
Nickey said she looked forward to seeing how her classmates succeeded as they transitioned to the next stage of their lives.
“This is the part where we apply all of our wisdom to the real world,” Nickey said. “Here, we will fulfill those professions that we worked so hard for. We will finally be able to share our passions and talents with the rest of the world.”
Nickey thanked her family, friends and the staff at Bermudian Springs for their support.
She plans to study chemistry at Millersville University, according to notes provided by the district. Nikey finished school with a cumulative GPA of 102.187%.
Class President Lillian Peters found solace in the “wise words” of Hannah Montana’s, “I’ll Always Remember You.”
Peters quoted part of the song: “I always knew this day would come. We’d be standing one by one/ With our future in our hands, so many dreams, so many plans/ I always knew that after all these years, there’d be laughter, there’d be tears / But I never thought I’d walk away with so much joy but so much pain/ and it’s so hard to say ‘goodbye.’”
Peters said the lyrics perfectly represented her emotions.
“While these words may just be lyrics from a first grade idol, they also sum up how many of us are feeling today at this very moment,” Peters said. “I for one cannot believe this day has come and it feels like it shouldn’t be here quite yet.”
Peters recalled fun times growing up with her classmates and left the audience with more lyrics from the song.
“So instead of ‘goodbye,’ I will say ‘thank you’ and even though: ‘Yesterday’s gone, we gotta keep moving on/ I’m so thankful for the moments, so glad I got to know you / The times that we had, I’ll keep like a photograph /And hold you in my heart forever. I’ll always remember you.’”
The ceremony’s invocation was given by Rebekah Gerringer. Senior members of the chorus performed, “The Little Creek” by Matt Carlson. Bailey Oehmig provided the benediction.
“We had a beautiful evening for the ceremony,” Jon DeFoe, principal of Bermudian Springs High School, said via email. “The graduates were very appreciative and thankful to be outside for the ceremony.”
Editor’s Note: The graduation ceremony was livestreamed through the district’s YouTube page but was partially inaudible. All student quotes were taken from copies of the speeches provided by Bermudian Springs School District following the ceremony.
Featured Image: Nickey (l.) and Beachy (r.)
Imari Scarbrough is a freelance journalist. She was a staff newspaper reporter for five years before becoming a freelancer in 2017. She has written on crime, environmental issues, severe weather events, local and regional government and more.
You can visit her website at ImariJournal.com.