The 156 graduates of the Littlestown Senior High School Class of 2022 gathered with their teachers, school board, families, and friends on the field of Thunderbolt Stadium on Friday evening to receive their diplomas and take the first step as recent graduates into the rest of their lives.
The weather remained on the favorable side for the ceremony and the graduates were welcomed with cheering, music, and applause on the Thunderbolt Field turf.
Interim Principal Joel Moran spoke highly of the graduates, saying they have truthfully not had a “normal” high school experience compared to years past.
“No matter where their lives take them after graduation, and what path they are headed on towards their future, we feel good about their path – and will continue to support them with our actions,” he said.
Moran said that while Littlestown was able to keep most students in person as much as possible throughout the years of the pandemic, it was not without its challenges. “This group of students has experienced extreme highs and lows with post-pandemic life — but through it all, they have had the community of Littlestown supporting them every step of the way.”
“The Class of 2022 is filled with hardworking and caring individuals. It has been our pleasure to teach many of our soon-to-be graduates and to serve as their advisors for the past four years,” said Class of 2022 Co-Advisors Mariah Becker and Sara Brenneman in email statement. “It was truly a joy to see these students grow from young freshmen to kind, caring, and mature young adults ready to take on the world! We look forward to hearing about how each of them will follow their dreams and do great things in the future!”
After the graduates had each received their diplomas, the high school choir gave a rendition of “Remember Me” from the Disney film “Coco” and the high school band also performed.
“Wow, this was one wild ride” said Salutatorian Trent Boritz, kicking off the student commencement speeches. “I believe it is important we remember all of the friends we have made along the way and the impact they have made on our lives.”
Boritz spoke of warm friendships, comradery with classmates and teachers, and the importance of family and their impact on their journeys.
“You all have great futures ahead of you, so don’t look back on your mistakes. Life is too short to worry about the stupid things. Have fun, regret nothing, and don’t let others tell you that you can’t follow your dreams.”
“Know this, things will go wrong and you will struggle to get back up – but the hardest times are created for the strongest people,” he said.
Valedictorian Lura Johnson expressed her gratitude for the many Littlestown educators, community members, and their families who have helped them along the way. “Don’t let the rest of the day go by without making sure to let them know how thankful you are,” she said.
Speaking of the journeys the students had taken, Johnson acknowledged that some may have a clear vision of their future while others may remain uncertain of the path their life may take. “Either way, it is important to take what you have already learned and grow from it,” she said.
Johnson encouraged her classmates to begin to consider the world around them and what type of impact they hope to leave (whether big or small) behind them, and to take all that they have learned from their years at Littlestown with them along the way.
Johnson quoted French physicist and Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, saying “Nothing is life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Class President Derek Reed closed the student speeches by focusing on the many challenges the students had overcome and achievements they had made, elaborating on the lengthy history of education in Littlestown, dating back to the 1700s, and bringing it full circle to the class of 2022.
“It’s funny to think how some of us were horrified for our freshman year of high school, but look at us now,” he said.
Reid noted the hardships the students had overcome, and the achievements that they had made along the way. He encouraged students to remember their Alma Mater as they continue into their futures, reminding them of their class motto: “We will find a way or make one.”
Reed closed his speech with a quote from musician Vera Lynn, “Don’t know where, don’t know when, but we’ll meet again someday.”
Assistant Principal Dr. Judith Berryman recognized the many students who received awards.
Littlestown Area School District Superintendent Christopher Bigger spoke about the word “perspective,” saying “Just when you think you have it figured out, new experiences come in.”
Bigger posed the question of the influx of technology to the students and attendees, asking them, in a world of technological advancement, “where do you go to disconnect?” Bigger encouraged students to find a place where they could take a step back from a situation to gain perspective. “Find that place and visit it often,” he said.
Bigger encouraged the graduates to work on maintaining perspective and chasing their dreams, saying that if they were able to continue to seek perspective and asking advice they would be able to build a world they want to live in.
“Life is about your future, not our past,” he said. ““So wheels up, take off, fly Thunderbolts.”
Featured image from Littlestown Area School District