The Class of 2018 commencement ceremony on June 23 at Jordan-Elbridge brimmed with excitement as a total of 93 students crossed the stage to accept their diplomas.
Superintendent James Froio welcomed
the packed auditorium to the district’s 54th commencement ceremony, and spoke about the secret of success. He said success is “living a happy and fulfilling life,” and that the graduates have to decide to be successful.
He shared a story by Michigan State University motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas, who once went to a success guru and was told that when you want to be successful as much as you want to breathe, you will find success.
“You have to make sure you want it inside,” he said.
Following the National Anthem, Jordan-Elbridge Middle School principal David Shafer presented the Wall of Honor Award to former teacher Mary Lou Varga.
The ceremony featured a musical selection by the small group ensemble and speeches by valedictorian Hugh Schader and salutatorian Samantha Whalen. Senior class president Molly Derby and student council president Hunter Simmons also spoke to the audience.
Simmons talked about how you can’t rely on a concrete path through life, and Derby asked how the graduates will measure their time at JE.
“We will measure our time here by the friendships and memories that will last a lifetime,” she said.
Schader thanked his parents and grandfather for their role in his education and talked about how society is obsessed with numbers. He said that numbers can reflect a lot about a person, but they can’t represent someone’s intelligence. He said someone’s grade point average might be able to estimate one kind of intelligence, but there are so many other forms of intelligence that can’t be measured by a number including emotional intelligence, musical intelligence, linguistic intelligence and more.
“I know for a fact that I’m not the smartest person in the room because, every single day, I am humbled by and in awe of the amazing people behind me on this stage,” he said.
He left the audience with one piece of advice: don’t let your grades define you.
“In the real world, nobody is going to care if you got a 100 on your physics Regents, or if you failed AP chem. What they will care about is your ability to enact change, however big or small that change may be,” he said.
Whalen followed Schader’s speech and included various personal rules about positive interactions and following your own path. She parted by saying the hard test of life is about to begin.
“Don’t fret though. Look around. Everyone here is here to support you when you need that extra push, and if they aren’t, I am,” she said.