Just as a butterfly flaps its wings, so too, will they as they embark on the next phase of their lives.

Whether or not the experiences of the Jim Thorpe High School graduation Class of 2010 will have a butterfly effect remains to be seen.

Family members and friends filled the high school gymnasium Friday evening as the 135 students who represented the 56th annual graduation class received their diplomas.

Commencement exercises got under way when high school Principal Thomas Lesisko welcomed those in attendance. A group of seniors then performed the national anthem.

Lesisko told the graduates what great people they've been, and what a great future they have in front of them.

"My message for you tonight is what I learned from you," Lesisko said. "Don't settle."

Lesisko said he had several recommendations for the class: that they never know enough; to not be afraid; to avoid addictive behaviors; not to play too much; to stay healthy; to remain curious; and to make their community better.

Christian Hauze, class president, focused on the "butterfly effect", related to the work of Edward Lorenz, a pioneer of chaos theory who coined the phrase.

"A wise person once said, 'if there wasn't change, there would never be butterflies,'" Hauze said. "No two butterflies are identical, and neither are we."

Oliver Schultz, class salutatorian, spoke of the metamorphosis of how the students grew from caterpillars to butterflies.

"Our class started off high school in the form of caterpillars, and we have now finally emerged into butterflies," Schultz said. "Tonight, I challenge you to take flight."

Christian Ferko, class valedictorian, incorporated some humor into his speech after he read off several quotes of funny things classmates said which he documented in a book.

He then thanked the district administration and faculty for their patience, dedication and desire to ensure the students succeeded.

"Each of us will change the world in our own way," Ferko said. "The Class of 2010 is a force to be reckoned with."

Ferko, who had the audience in the palm of his hands, then encouraged his classmates to sing their class song "Just a Friend", to which the class eagerly obliged.

Hauze then gave the mantle presentation, accepted by Edwin Valentin, president of the Class of 2011.

Afterward, a presentation was made to exchange students Tomas Lafeta and Elisabeth Seier.

Next came the announcement of graduates, followed by the presentation of diplomas from Superintendent Barbara Conway, Lesisko, Dennis McGinley, and Mark Rosenberger.

Conway then addressed the students on how to treat others properly.

"People will never forget how you make them feel," Conway said. "Always treat people kindly and with compassion and respect, and hopefully you will be treated the same."

Lesisko then gave the presentation of the class, and it was off with the hats.

The audience and class sang the Alma Mater. The recessional, Rondeau-Mouret, was performed by organist Jeana Depuy.

From this day forward, the graduates are in charge of their own lives, and it is up to them to make the most of the opportunities that come their way.