LISBON - Surrounded by family and friends, members of the class of 2014 at Beaver Local High School said goodbye to each other and their alma mater during commencement exercises Friday evening, as they prepared to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
In her valedictory address, Devin Ordich said she was very proud to be sharing such a special moment with her classmates and friends. She called it a bittersweet occasion, combining the achievement of a long-awaited goal with having to say goodbye to them.
Ordich, one of 10 valedictorians this year, thanked not only her family and friends, but all the loved ones in attendance for their care and support of she and her classmates over the years. "None of us could have done it without you," she said.
Newly-minted graduates from Beaver Local High School, members of the class of 2014 throw their caps in the air at the conclusion of commencement exercise Friday evening at the stadium. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
She became emotional when thanking her mother, whom she referred to as, "my rock, my nurse, my teacher and my friend."
"You have always motivated me to be my best, and you are the reason I am the person I am today," Ordich said. "You are my guidepost for everything. Thank you so much for being my Lorelei."
Her co-valedictorian, Roberts Miles Steffen, took a slightly different tack, bringing a moment of levity to the proceedings. He teasingly compared his speech with the more serious approach he knew his classmates would take.
"I had to lighten the mood. So I kept that thought in mind until this afternoon, when I finally finished writing this speech," he said. In addition to his parents, Steffen thanked Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, and Larry Tesler, the inventor of the copy-and-paste function. "These people turned what would be hours of homework into mere minutes of searching on the internet," he said.
Ordich ended by offering sincere thanks to his parents, friends and teachers. "The years have flown by, but I guess that's what happens when you're having fun," he said.
In addition to offering congratulations on a job well done, Beaver Local Superintendent Kent Polen encouraged the graduates to take extra time to spend with family and friends, "the special people in your life," before embarking on college and career.
Beaver Local High School Principal Tom Cunningham shared his pride in the class of 2014. "This is a great group of students assembled before us this evening, with so many talents to share," he said. "We look forward to hearing and reading about their future achievements and successes from wherever they may go."