"Follow your passions, pursue your hobbies and embrace your talents," Northern Lehigh High School Valedictorian Josh Gyory told the Class of 2010 at their graduation ceremony Friday.
Citing the late Dr. Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who chronicled final six months of his life before he died of pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008.
"No one has taught me more about following my own dreams than Pausch," Gyory told the class. "Dr. Pausch was an ordinary man until one solemn day when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer ... he was told that he had only six months longer to spend with his wife and two children, but that is the moment he transformed from just an ordinary person into someone extraordinary."
Gyory told the class that "rather than feeling sorrow for himself and wasting his precious time lying in bed and moping. He embraced his limited amount of time by educating others and spending quality time with his wife and children. He even wrote one of the most inspirational and inspiring novels that I have ever read, entitled The Last Lecture."
The audience listened as Gyory quoted Pausch: "It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how you lead your life ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you."
What he was really talking about," Gyory said, "was don't let anyone discourage you. His words encourage us to follow our passions in life, pursue our hobbies and embrace our talents, because all of us sitting here have them. Passion and confidence are what we need to to succeed.
"As long as we have faith in ourselves and love for what we are seeking, we will overcome any obstacle that may transpire, and we might even surprise ourselves and make a lasting impact on the world," Gyory said.
Salutatorian Aaron Rarick warned the class not to rest on its laurels.
"Since first grade ... we have ruthlessly been pursuing our one goal of making it out of this school with a diploma, and that day is finally here. We made it. While we can bask in this glory for a little while, we cannot get complacent," Rarick said.
He left the class with a "quote that is oft repeated in the Rarick household. It goes, 'Never stop learning, because no one can take away intelligence'. So, Class of 2010, keep learning and stay safe. Thank you, good luck and God bless."
Class president Christian Freudenberger wished his classmates "good luck in their futures. We all have the potential to do great things, we just need to set goals for ourselves."
The graduating class of about 180 students remembered their late classmate, Russell Jacoby, who died last year. Also, Principal Aileen M. Yadush recognized retirees Jeannie James, Maryann Lucykanish, David Papay, Nevin Ranck, Earl Snyder and Sandra Vadya.