Northwestern seniors made commencement 'their own'
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Alex Masetti, valedictorian, and Ramzy Burns, salutatorian, took top honors with the Class of 2010.
Northwestern Lehigh High School Principal Dennis Nemes said the Class of 2010 had nine people who wanted to speak at commencement. That number had to be cut as the class made the commencement "their own" without a guest speaker.
Ramzy Burns, class president, asked, "What are you going to do with the change that comes into your life. Are you going to sit around and wait for life to unravel or will you go out into the world and open the doors to your own future?
Jarrod Walczer sang "You've Got a Friend," accompanying himself on the guitar.
Beverly Post and Alex Masetti played "18 Duets from Opus 11 - Allegro." Nemes thanked them for sharing their special gifts with the audience.
He said the graduation speakers offered different angles on the Class of 2010.
Kourtney Bernecker provided "A Positive Impact." She said they left their footprints at Northwestern and now they are about to step out into the world. The goal is to make an impact with each stride.
Bernecker told of some of the events that made lasting memories for the graduates, but "it's not what we did that makes the memory, but who we made the memory with."
Olivia Danner talked of "Using Yesterday to Find Tomorrow." She said sometimes it seemed like everything she did was for future plans of college and facing the real world. She said preparation for the future is vitally important, but there is something of equal importance: living in the present.
She talked of Shaunice Jarjous, a class member who died in September 2009. Members of the class stood the next day to offer comfort to the students as they walked in, a prayer circle was held, and items were sold to form a memorial.
Alex Masetti said he cannot hope to contrive some piece of advice that would be both fresh and helpful to everybody.
"I can observe that as a class we are built by our past and, as individuals, each one of us is a product of his or her experiences throughout life," he said. "We have all pursued different interests in the past and each one of us will enter the future with a unique and useful skill set."
Brittany Kittle talked about her best friend, Shaunice.
"We will carry her in our hearts. She changed my life. You learned about love from her amazing smile."
Kelly Miller said the money earned as a memorial would provide a scholarship for Northwestern.
Brad Rex, National Honor Society president, introduced the 33 members of the honor society.
Superintendent Dr. Mary Anne Wright said on the topic of the day, change, they should live for today and maximize the opportunities that come their way.
"It is up to you to contribute to your community wherever that is," Wright said. "You will make a difference one thing at a time."
Greg Snyder, school board president, said, "It is an exciting day. As you take this step forward be assured you will contribute to your community, your country and the world around you. Experience everything you can and learn from it. I wish you the very best."
Students received a handshake and an occasional hug from Superintendent Wright after receiving their diplomas from Ken Fisher and Amy Nickischer, assistant principals at the high school, and Snyder.