Palmerton graduates urged to 'live big'
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS It's off with the caps as members of Palmerton Area High School's Class of 2011 celebrate following commencement exercises Wednesday inside the high school gymnasium.
It's time to follow their inner moonlight and dance the night away.
That was part of the wisdom shared with members of the Palmerton Area High School Class of 2011 on Wednesday.
Due to the extreme heat, the 103rd annual commencement exercises were moved indoors to the high school gymnasium.
As the heat sweltered, the 118 students who comprised this year's class calmly took it in stride.
Commencement exercises got under way with a welcome from class President Blake Campbell, who complimented his fellow classmates on their achievement.
"It's truly an honor to be addressing you this evening," Campbell said. "We have all worked very hard the last four years and achieved so much."
Class Salutatorian Samantha K. Smith said she thought this day would never come six years ago when she first entered the junior high school.
"It seemed like our senior year was never going to get here," Smith said. "I can't understand where the last four years have gone."
Smith said that while she's proud of all her accomplishments, graduation marks a "new beginning" for everyone.
She then thanked all the parents, family, friends, loved ones, and teachers who all helped make this day possible.
"Parents, we wouldn't have gotten this far without you," Smith said. "While these past four years went fast, we have all made memories that will last a lifetime."
Campbell, who served as class Valedictorian, quoted deceased American poet Allen Ginsberg about how the students should follow their inner moonlight.
"Do what you like and live big," Campbell said. "The status quo is overrated anyhow."
Campbell then told the students they "all need to experience life on the dance floor."
"By doing so, we will inevitably find success and happiness," he said. "Be yourself, live life on the dance floor, and follow your inner moonlight."
High school Principal Kathy Egan gave the presentation of the class.
Superintendent Carol Boyce told the class to continue to strive for excellence.
School board President Barry Scherer told those in attendance it was an "honor and a privilege to participate."
Scherer said that the students spent 13 years in the public education system, and added that "time does not stand still."
He then alluded to the recent senior awards ceremony to dispel the notion that pride no longer exists in the district.
"Each of you has a quality that makes you different from everyone else," Scherer said. "Continue on your relentless path striving to keep your goals high."
Scherer then presented the diplomas to the class.
Campbell offered the acceptance of the diplomas. The class then sang the school's Alma Mater. The ceremony ended with the recessional.