HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Parents, friends and family members used their cell phones to catch a bit of history as more than 180 students marched during Geneva High School graduation on Saturday afternoon at Spire Institute.
Administrators, students and teachers all reflected on life at Geneva High School with several shedding a tear or two along the way.
“The Class of 2019 has made Geneva High School a place of great achievement. It is important to acknowledge,” said Geneva High School Principal Douglas Wetherholt. He also spent a lot of time honoring students who provided community service, took advance placement exams and other accomplishments.
“For the first time in school history we had five students pass the biliteracy test,” Wetherholt said. He said the test awards those who have become proficient in two languages before high school graduation.
“I have an enormous amount of pride. Each of you have unique talents which will allow you to reach your goals. You can do anything you set your mind to,” he said.
Class speaker Dustin Odell reflected on a wide variety of topics but marveled at how quick time goes by. “It feels like last month we ran out for our last recess,” he said.
“We are about to graduate. The possibilities are endless. Some of us don’t know what the next step is. That’s okay,” he said.
“Look around; some of the people here will be your doctor, your nurse ... maybe your husband, your wife,” he said.
Odell said the school has provided a good base for the future. “No matter what path we take I know we will do it with the pride we gained at Geneva High School,” he said.
Cierra Weissmiller also spoke for the Class of 2019 about her love of Geneva High School and ATech where she went to explore her love of graphic design. She said many people encouraged her to make the move while others did not.
“I have done many things at ATech that I am proud of,” she said.
Weissmiller said each student made different decisions but all had something in common. “We all made investments in ourselves,” she said.
Madeline Milliken also shared her thoughts about high school and its importance in the development process. “You find a part of yourself you will keep forever,” she said.
She also credited teachers and parents for helping students as well. “We couldn’t possibly get a running start if we weren’t taught to stand first,” she said.
Walter Lininger was the faculty speaker with his own children taking that next step in life. “I was hoping to be just a dad today,” he said before choking up.
He went on to ask the question “What is success?” He said some see it as money, others as a career while still others as raising a family.
“I believe only you can define it (success). You know what it means to you. Don’t let anyone let you feel inferior if you don’t live up to their view of success,” he said.
Geneva Area City Schools Superintendent Eric Kujala said it normally takes him a long time to put together his remarks about a specific class. Not this year.
“It took me only several moments,” he said.
“You the class of 2019 defines energy,” Kujala said of a group of students that stimulated change and provided positive energy.