The 131 graduates reminisced on the memories they made, the friendships they cultivated and the way they “grew together,” something that class president James Hill emphasized in his speech to the class at their graduation.
“We will begin to realize how much we’re grown since late August 2014 and we’ll realize what we’ve truly gained from high school,” said Hill, who placed third in the class academically.
“The end destination is not as rewarding as what is learned along the way. ... We grew together. We laughed together. We cried together. As we look back on the journey we each have experienced by ourselves, don’t forget to look back on the journeys we have shared.”
Graduate Nathaniel Robles, who will enter the Coast Guard on Aug. 7, focused on these same qualities. He said as he looked ahead, his feelings were “mixed — a little bit of excitement and fear,” but that he valued what he had to look back on.
“(I’m most excited) honestly to go into the coast guard, but I chose a later ship date so I can spend as much time as possible with my class,” he said. “We don’t know when we’ll see each other again.”
Salutatorian and class vice-president Gavin Schaeffer agreed.
“We’ve had a long road together and there is no other group of people that I would have liked to share my high school experience,” Schaeffer said. “The memories that we share as Edison students are worth the years of waiting for graduation to come.”
He also though encouraged his classmates as they remember the past, not to forget the bright future ahead of them. He urged his classmates to make the most of the time they have “because we only have so much.”
Both the salutatorian and the valedictorian Shea Smith spent a lot of time together preparing for the Firelands Challenge competitions, which the Edison club took first place in the area championships in an all-time record of six years and running. It’s no surprise Smith spoke along the same lines as Schaeffer in her speech to fellow graduates.
She also urged them to find what makes them tick and pursue it whole souled.
“While we do have second chances in life, choose your path wisely from the start,” she said. “Pusue your interests, find your passions and do what you love. I know that phrase is often thrown around carelessly, but it is the most important that thing that you can do in life. Pursue it tirelessly.”
Another student speaker, Hannah Mesenburg, agreed more with the class motto, which quoted Nelson Mandela in saying “The greatest glory in living is not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.”
Mesenburg told the graduates not to stress on those moments when they fall, but to learn from those mistakes.
“If you mess up now, you still have this much time to fix it,” she said, gesturing with her arms spread out. “You still have thims much time to learn, to grow to flourish. You still have time to live.”
In fact, school president John Betts told the students that focusing on mistakes would hold them back from achieving their true potential, and that instead they needed to accept that they “will make mistakes,” but they need to be willing to “step outside of your comfort zone.”
“The future doesn’t belong to the faint hearted, it belongs to the brave,” Betts said. “Go forward and be brave class of 2018.”
Robles said he feared the “adult things like taxes and work” that lie ahead, but felt graduating as a Charger prepared him well for the journey ahead.
“Edison is a tough school, with very high academics, so we all kind of push each other for a brighter future,” he said. “We’re all kind of working hard together.”