Over 150 students became Miami Trace alumni Sunday underneath a bright afternoon sky at the high school commencement ceremony.
As the high school band played a prelude and Edward Elgar’s famous “Pomp and Circumstance March,” the class of 2016 proudly marched onto the football field in front of packed bleachers filled with family and friends of the graduates. Rob Enochs, the high school principal, welcomed the graduates and the spectators, prior to a vocal selection by the senior choir members.
This was followed by senior addresses from class salutatorian Julia Barrett, valedictorian Benjamin Hollar, valedictorian Evan Johnson, and a joint speech from valedictorian Riley Evans and class president Bethany Reiterman.
Barrett reminded her classmates that this accomplishment was no small feat. “It is perhaps the most significant and life-altering achievement most of you can claim to this day,” said Barrett. “If you believe you can achieve anything and don’t let others tell you differently, what you are capable of achieving is genuinely amazing. I encourage you, the class of 2016, to not only follow the opportunities available to you, but to follow your heart and pursue a cause that is important to you. I challenge you to make your own path.”
Hollar encouraged the class of 2016 to take a moment to enjoy their success and breathe a sigh of relief. “The next chapter of our lives is nothing but what we want to make of it,” he said. “This generation has grown up being told that we can’t do things, that we’re lazy. I’m here to say that that’s not entirely true. We are leaving Miami Trace to make lives for ourselves, do not be discouraged when you encounter failure. Be courageous enough to burn your own path through life. It is within your power, and your power alone, to make the best of any situation you’re put in. Don’t let the world discourage you from achieving your goals.”
Johnson reminded his fellow classmates that although one phase of their education has ended, life is one continuous education. “Recognize that true education extends far beyond the classroom and reaches all throughout one’s life,” he said. “Once you leave today, don’t ever view your education as being finished. There will always be something to learn in life.”
To end his speech, Johnson quoted one of his favorite Bible verses, Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
In the last of the student speeches, Reiterman and Evans delighted the crowd with a host of pop culture references and song lyrics. And as a bit of a clever nod to millennial stereotype self-awareness, Reiterman reminded Evans mid-speech that they should document this moment with a “selfie.” The two used a cell phone to snap a picture of themselves with their classmates laughing in the background.
Evans ended the speech with lyrics from Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying.”
“We only got 86,400 seconds a day, to turn it all around or to throw it all away, gotta tell ‘em that we love ‘em while we got the chance to say, gotta live like we’re dying.”
Bryan Sheets and Meagan Strahler announced the class of 2016’s numerous scholarships and awards. Seniors with scholastic distinction who received honors diplomas were: Julia Barrett, Hannah Casto, Mary Climer, Riley Evans, Emylee Grooms, Amber Haynes, Benjamin Hollar, Erin Johnson, Ethan Johnson, Evan Johnson, Michaela Liff, Dakota Scott, Jacob O’Dea, and Sara Rowland.
The class of 2016 National Honor Society members were: Amanda Barrett, Julia Barrett, Madisyn Callahan, Hannah Casto, Mary Climer, Cody Clyburn, Whitney Cockerill, Sierra Crawford, Riley Evans, Carleigh Fraley, Emylee Grooms, Amber Haynes, Haylee Higgins, Benjamin Hollar, Erin Johnson, Ethan Johnson, Evan Johnson, Donna Knaub (National Technical Honor Society), Michaela Liff, Jacob O’Dea, Morgan Rambo, Bethany Reiterman, Sara Rowland, Dakota Scott, Megan Self, Miranda Wheeler, and Kathryn Zeigler.
Enochs presented and Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis accepted this impressive class.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica