It isn't so much the quantity of years a person lives as it is the quality of years that matters most.
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
That statement, spoken by Abraham Lincoln, is the favorite quote of the Palmerton Area High School Class of 2011.
In many ways, it served as the underlying theme for the PAHS Class of 2011 Baccalaureate Service held Sunday evening at the Sacred Heart Church in Palmerton.
The Rev. William T. Campion, pastor of the church, gave the welcome. Campion told the students the service was one of the final events of their high school career, and that they should enjoy the moment.
Senior Blake Campbell gave the Call to Worship. That was followed by the opening Hymn: "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore thee"
Senior Cynthia George read the Old Testament - Ecclesiastes 3:1-12.
Senior Jillian Farkas read the Psalm Response "I will praise Your Name forever, my King and my God".
"The best thing for people to do is be happy," Farkas said. "They should enjoy themselves as long as they live."
Senior Megan Mummey read Epistle - Philippians 2:1-5.
Deacon William Pitts, Sacred Heart Church, read the Gospel - Mark 10:13-18.
Bill Congdon, high school assistant principal/athletic director, offered the Reflection.
Congdon told the students it was a "humbling" experience to speak before them.
As part of his speech, Congdon stressed that it's important to commit an act of random kindness.
"It's the little acts that mean so much," Congdon said. "When I see students in the hallway say hello or smile, it brings you back."
Congdon then told the students he couldn't thank them enough for their kindness.
"Be kind to others, and remember that smile or that hello you receive may be one of the most important things," he said. "I will take all the hugs, all the hellos with me forever and ever, and I hope you will to."
The students then sang the Hymn: "Praise to the Lord, The Almighty".
Seniors Elli DeSocio, Bill Heinick, and Campbell performed the musical selection "Getting into you".
Senior Lindsey Heinrich led the Prayer of the graduation class.
"Gracious Heavenly Father, we pause this night to offer praise and thanksgiving for your creative presence in our lives. By your grace, embodied in the love and concern of family and friends, we stand at the threshold of a life changing moment. We are grateful for the privilege of education and the opportunities we have had to learn and grow. We offer thanks for all who helped structure and guide our educational journey - directors, administrators, faculty and staff. But above all, we need to thank our parents for their support and love and the richness they have brought to our lives. May God continue to bless them as the role of parent and child continues to change throughout the years."
Next, the students joined together in prayer. The Rev. Deborah McLean, pastor of the Salem United Methodist Church, Aquashicola, gave the Benediction.
The students then sang the closing Hymn: "God of Our Fathers".
The Recessional "Pomp & Circumstance".
Commencement exercises for the Palmerton Area graduates will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the high school stadium.