The ceremony which was cancelled twice due to inclement weather, was held in Warrior Stadium on June 2 and livestreamed on YouTube. (The ceremony begins at about the 31-minute mark.)
“What an absolutely crazy ride this high school experience has been,” said Gettysburg Area School District Senior Class President Natalie Kloster in her address to her graduating classmates and their parents and supporters at this year’s Gettysburg High School graduation in Warriors Stadium.
Kloster said she had doubted at many times in the year that an in-person graduation was possible. “We all stuck to together and supported each other through every challenge that was thrown at us. I couldn’t be more grateful to see all of my classmates together again, which is something I took for granted just over a year ago,” said Kloster.
Quoting the poet George Linnaeus Banks, and employing students to make a difference to do good and to deal with important issues of climate change and political polarization, Student Choice Speaker Sam Doubs said “Life is about relationships; the joy we get out of being around one another. That’s part of the reason this past year was such a challenge.”
“To call us students of a school of hard knocks is an understatement. This past year sucked, but because we persisted there’s so much more we can do. It’s time to go make the world a better place,” he said.
Valedictorian Aya Sato recounted her experiences and challenges at the school and particularly during the pandemic, saying “We have so much to be proud of.” Sato reminded students of the struggles they face and encouraged them not to take the easy way out and to move forward as “people who care about how and what we learn.”
Principal Jeremy Lusk said he had “never felt more privileged to serve this community. I’m incredibly proud of the students.” Thanking the many people in the district who made a difference, he said “You are indeed the best. I commend you.”
Lusk thanked parents for their support during the pandemic. “Our world as parents has not been easy. Thank you for supporting these students to the finish line.”
“Every single one of these students have earned their way – The Warrior way,” said Lusk
As he said had become a yearly tradition, Lusk read a poem, “Perspectives of Gratitude,” to the class.
Be kind to everyone. Allow your contribution to the world to start with kindness and your investment will grow,” said Lusk.
The ceremony, hosted by Konnor Keller, included a virtuosic violin performance of the National Anthem by Sato and a rendition of the school’s Alma Mater by Jenna Brasee.
“It’s easy to be better until you count your blessings; We are lucky don’t forget that,” said Lusk
A link to the ceremony’s program is here.
Scholastic Honor Groups, representing the top 2 percent, 5 percent, and 10 percent of the graduating class.
Summa Cum Laude
Magna Cum Laude
Perspectives of Gratitude (By Jeremy Lusk)
Perspectives of gratitude, easily taken for granted,
Expectations of normalcy persist.
Tomorrow, assumed to be like today,
Until, it is not.
A virus steals our breath.
Known realities masked in doubt,
Anxiety amplified by fears.
Predictability replaced by uncertainty.
In isolation, we struggle to unite.
Connecting by alternative paths,
We find new peace, alone.
Plans are paused for an unknown length,
Frustrations grow by day.
Rules are questioned,
Science is summoned,
We awaken and wonder what’s to come.
Seeing it’s not a dream,
We find comfort in the pain,
For new wisdom we gain.
Perspectives of yesterday inform tomorrow,
Our strength, growing from past sorrow.
Together we move forward,
Guided by a better sense.
Grounded in purpose,
We live once more,
Life, with perspectives of gratitude.