Speakers at the Archbold High School 124th commencement ceremony, Sunday, May 22, recognized those who influenced the lives of the graduates, recognized their accomplishments, and predicted bright futures for each.
“I look out over all my classmates and I see young, brilliant minds rearing to go, ready for the world that awaits us,” said Garrett Grime, one of two speakers selected by the Class of 2016.
“I see doctors and nurses, teachers and professors, high-ranking officers in the military, business owners and academic advisors, financial advocates, and many, many more.
“It’s exciting to know I have grown up with such talented and beautiful young men and women.”
“I believe the Class of 2016 has the potential to have huge successes,” said Madison Kohler, the second class speaker.
Several of those who took the podium before 93 diplomas were handed out spoke of the role others had in shaping the lives of the graduates.
After welcoming friends, family, coaches, neighbors, and others, Anna Schoenhals, class president, said, “Each of you has played such an important part in our lives, helping us get to where we are now.”
She noted those in attendance had each helped in shaping the character of the class members, teaching them, loving them, and supporting them.
“I believe your presence here today is actually a reflection of your presence in our lives in the past. But not only is it a reflection of the past; I’m confident that your presence is a commitment, a commitment to your presence in our lives for the future.
“And for your presence, we are extremely grateful.”
Aaron Rex, superintendent, recognized those who had an impact on students, from parents and teachers to volunteers.
“After all, graduation is not just a celebration for you, but it’s a time for all of us who have helped you to think about how far you have come,” Rex said.
Jon Lugbill, president of the school board, told the graduates, “None of us would be where we are today, prepared to be successful in our lives, without our community. That includes grandparents, our friends, friends of our people, and everybody in the community.”
Several speakers commented on the accomplishments of the Class of 2016.
Royal Short, AHS principal, said members of the class had received scholarships valued at more than $1 million, with more than $117,000 coming from the community.
Short talked about how hard work had paid off.
“You have seen your hard work pay off on the field, the court, in the choirs, the track, the personal goals, the personal bests, the championships and tournament runs.”
“Don’t ever forget how important hard work is,” Short said.
“When I think of all you have accomplished, I could not be more proud,” said Rex.
“There are so many amazing talents that you possess in the arts, in athletics, in the classroom, and much more. You’ve made a lasting impact on this school, our community, and me personally.”
“Each and every one of us has done something great,” Grime said.
“Whether that great thing took place in the classroom, on the stage, or on the athletic fields or courts, we have all been great.”
“When I think about my class, the Class of 2016, I think of the word perseverance.” Kohler said.
“Perseverance is not getting by, it’s being persistent in your effort to do something even when it is difficult and discouraging. Our class definitely has perseverance.
“No, we haven’t been perfect, we’ve made some mistakes along the way, but I believe mistakes are simply opportunities God gives us to learn from and grow.
“We as a class have not allowed our past mistakes to define who we are. We have learned some valuable lessons along the way, and have grown individually and together as a class.
She said the class will face challenges, and some of those challenges will result in failure.
“However, it’s what we do with those mistakes and how we react to difficult times that will determine how great our successes will actually be,” Kohler said.
“As we go forth into the future, I challenge you to continue to flourish,” Grime said. “Go out and be bold. Challenge yourself– you are capable of so much.
“I’m very excited to see what you’re all capable of; what we’re all capable of. I’m very, very excited, and I can see by your eyes that you, too, are excited.”
Grime said he was asked what makes Archbold special.
Defining that is a very difficult task, he said.
“It’s like trying to condense a book into one chapter,” Grime said.
But all those chapters are made up of people dealing with tragedies, celebrating accomplishments, and going through peaks and setbacks of daily lives together, he said.
“Bam– that’s what makes Archbold special,” Grime said.
“We have, as a class, come together time and time again to support and celebrate with one another during those times.”