"When the day will come to leave her
O're life's sea we roam;
We will always sing the praises
To our Lehighton home."
For the 125th time, Lehighton Area School District held Commencement Exercises before a packed gymnasium filled with families, friends and well-wishers on Friday night.
Members of the Lehighton High School class of 1960, celebrating their 50th reunion, were given seats of honor behind the graduating seniors.
Timothy Tkach, principal of the high school, said that "graduation is a once in a lifetime thing," before introducing Shelby Hartman, senior class president, who offered the official welcome to the capacity crowd.
"We all have different interests and talents, but in the past four years we have formed who we are," said Hartman. "We have gained a bond with each other. We're all together today, but after tonight, we'll be going our separate ways."
James Kraky, school superintendent, reminded the graduates to always approach life with a sense of openness and wonder.
"Enjoy life and take time for yourself and think hard about what you want to do next," he said. "What you do in the next seven years will have an impact on the next 50."
Kraky also noted that the students will need to work hard because nothing is gained without a littler perspiration.
"Work hard when you are young and take advantage of your opportunities," he said.
Student speakers were Tim Sulzer, valedictorian; Sarah Bednar, salutatorian; and Dacin Kemmerer.
Sulzer used the poem, "Upward Bound," to trace the students' progress from their graduation to their life's destination.
"Into the World, we venture tonight," he said. "The beginning is now, there's no end in sight. We've worked hard these past years in school. Now we're challenged to use our knowledge as fuel. Fuel to power us through the trails yet to appear. To guide us through problems with solutions unclear.
"I urge you to always make the most of your future. Fill it with excitement, joy and adventure. Don't allow your faults to keep you from what you love. Flaws are even present in the stars above. Follow your passion, your mind and your heart. Because with these things happiness is always a part.
"So take time to watch the sun rise and set," he continued. "Rushing through life will only lead to regret. And life, you'll find is a destination of its own. A fruit to produced by the seeds you have sown. So go, grow old, be happy and thrive. Always be thankful to just simply be alive. And in bed tonight, you can sleep safe and sound. With the idea that we are all Upward Bound."
Sarah Bednar's comments compared life to a restaurant.
"As a young child, we were spoon fed, and our parents ordered food for us," she said. "As we grew with our appetites, we began to make our own decisions and order for ourselves. We tried new things, and began to discover our likes and dislikes."
Bednar said that life doesn't have to be a one-course meal.
"Tomorrow our lives are a smorgasbord," she said.
She advised her classmates to try new things, mix in some interesting flavors and you'll never know what you are missing.
"Follow your dreams and become the person you always wanted to be," she said.
"We've always known this day would come and, whether our teachers, our parents or our selves are prepared for it, here it is," Kemmerer said. "This is our first step into adulthood. We'll be thinking about the bills we have to pay and what job we'll be able to stand for the next 30 years of our lives.
"This is a beginning of a new chapter, a time in our lives that will make or break us. It will hopefully mold us into the individuals we'll be for the rest of our lives. It starts here, right now."
Tkach presented the class of 2010 comprised of 88 girls and 81 boys for graduation to Kraky.
"They have fulfilled the requirements," said Tkach.
Diplomas were presented to the class by David Krause, president of the school board.