The foundation has been laid.
Now, all that's left for the members of the Palmerton Area High School Class of 2013 is to become the pillars of success they are all so seemingly capable of.
A total of 123 students received their diplomas during the 105th annual commencement exercises Monday at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe, which began with a song by the high school chorus that featured seniors Brianna Bush and Laurel Seemiller.
Class President Tyler Snyder welcomed those in attendance, after which senior Michayla Doherty performed a song.
Snyder, class Valedictorian, focused his speech on preparation, and what school has done for the class in general.
Snyder said "If I tried to recount every single thing 13 years of school has taught us and how it might play into our futures, I think I'd be pulled off the stage with a hook before I got even half percent of the way there; so, instead, I'd like to highlight just a few of the most important and sometimes subtle ways that we have been prepared for the future."
"As one of the most important lessons anyone can ever learn, school taught us that there is no logical reason to feel awkward meeting someone new or diving into new experiences," he said. "Now, l can't speak for how well the lessons against social awkwardness stuck with me personally, but it takes only a glance at all those seated behind me to see their collective charm and charisma, and recognize the role it will play in their lives."
Snyder said behind him was a group of people he's known for years, who are ready to take the next step to becoming whatever they want to become.
"The pieces may not all be in place yet for the neurologist or the attorney or the engineer, but for all of us, the foundations have been laid," he said. "Each of us has been taught all the overarching lessons needed to live a fulfilling life by the standards we set for ourselves, and I am truly grateful for the experiences of the past four years, and honored for having had the opportunity to get to know many of you so well."
Snyder wrapped up his speech with what he said was the most important lesson he's learned in the past 13 years; a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet, in which the great fool Polonius said, "Above all, to thine own self be true."
Class Salutatorian Courtney Getz noted that in spite of last year's Valedictorian speech of being the last graduating class due to the theory of the Mayan calendar, 2013 did, in fact, come, and the class was about to graduate.
"All of us have come a long way, from half days in kindergarten playing in the toy kitchen, to now most of us taking college and dual enrollment courses," Getz said. "When I was thinking back to elementary school, I've now realized that my parents were right; that time really does fly by, especially when you're having fun."
Getz said those students who attended Towamensing Elementary will always remember the "Green House" modular's, named after their fifth grade teachers, Mrs. Green and Mr. House.
"As most may already know, we lost Mr. House just this past month, unexpectedly," she said. "Mr. House, you were a great teacher and role model, and you will be deeply missed. You stood behind us whole hearted, even after scaring us on the first day of school by telling us it was going to be the hardest grade in elementary school. And even in your passing, you are still teaching not only your students, but many of us in here tonight that you must always live life to the fullest, because life is truly too short."
Getz said that her parents are her biggest role models, as they not only work hard, but take the time to have fun as well, which she thanked them for "always being there to encourage us to be the best we can be, and to never give up, and somehow always having that band aid ready."
She told the class to look to their left, and to their right, and although they may have just spent the last 13 years with these people, this may be the last time their paths will cross.
"As we spend this last night together, remember that it is not only the end, but also the beginning of a new chapter of our lives," she said. "So never stop reaching for your goals, be the best that you can be, and never sell yourself short."
High school Principal Kathy Egan gave the presentation of the class.
Egan wished the class much success, and said they will be missed.
Superintendent Carol Boyce gave the acceptance of the class.
School board President Tammy Recker told the class they should take the time to remember their academic and athletic achievements.
But, in doing so, Recker said they should never forget their educators, parents, coaches, and others who always believed in them.
Recker told the class their "futures were bright, and their opportunities are endless."
"To the newest members of the Blue Bomber Alumni, welcome," Recker said. "Make us proud; I know you will."
Recker presented the diplomas to the class.
Snyder offered the acceptance of the diplomas.
The class then sang the school's Alma Mater. The ceremony ended with recessional.