Graduation is the start of the race, not the finish line, class president Nathan Moore told fellow Amherst Steele High School seniors Saturday.
“An entire pool lies ahead of us and we stand ready to make our waves in the world, endless possibilities of what these waves do and where they go due to their unique structure and length,” said the Comets’ star swimmer.
“It’s important to note that we just got on the blocks. The race hasn’t started and everything prior has been preparation for this moment. This day is scary but it doesn’t matter if you feel behind or unprepared because the race has yet to start. Don’t be nervous. Don’t be stressed. You have the entire race ahead of you.”
Numbering 345 strong, the Class of 2018 stepped from childhood to adulthood in a commencement ceremony at the Cleveland State University Wolstein Center.
The class earned $2.6 million in scholarships, which is a high water mark for the past few years, according to guidance counselor Bob Harcula, who beamed watching his own daughter Katie graduate.
While in high school, the graduates earned $585,787 worth of Lorain County Community College credits through the College Credit Plus program, said principal Michael May.
Eleven new alumni have chosen to enlist in the U.S. military.
Most graduates are heading off to college this fall, including Madison Murphy, the top Amherst scholar to attend the Lorain County JVS.
She studied health at the vocational school and now plans to attend the University of Akron to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering.
In a speech to the Class of 2018, Murphy cautioned her friends not to seek “the easy way out” but instead find their own paths — and to remember they can always change paths if they need to.
“We are all embarking on new adventures, whether that entails college, the workforce, or military,” she said. “Yes, the path you choose is important but not as important as the people you are walking with and how hard you are willing to work to achieve your dreams. Walk with people that will encourage you and keep you striding to your goals.”
District superintendent Steven Sayers told graduates it’s important to reflect on who they are.
Actions speak louder than words, he said: “… our deeds will outlast us and will be a permanent reminder of the life we lived.”
May said graduates had the opportunity to grow within an amazing school family and he’s proud to have been their principal — but prouder yet to share the bonds of being Steele alumni.
“Now get out there and get started with your futures,” he told the class.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.