Emotions ran high in the packed Madison-Plains High School gymnasium Friday evening.
The 107 green and gold clad graduating seniors of the class of 2018 were gathered in anticipation of their commencement.
They moved in processional with the expected fanfare, males entering from the right and females from the left, before filing into their seats.
The soon-to-be graduates and the audience of family and friends were greeted by the principal, Dr. Matthew Unger, who told them that the class of 2018 was particularly special to him. They entered Madison-Plains High School four years ago — the year he took on the position of principal, and in a sense, they learned all about what it takes to be a Golden Eagle together.
Unger then extolled the many virtues and accomplishments of that particular class, not the least of which was their school spirit and genuine camaraderie and compassion for each other, such as when they would clap in support of classmate Will Cooley as he struggled with an injured leg. “This is a wonderful class with really great accomplishments,” Unger told the crowd. “You’ll see them go on to bigger and better things.”
The class of 2018 had two valedictorians.
The first to give an address was Jenna Lawless.
Lawless touched upon the disdain that was often directed towards millennials and then went on to explain the great things that the generation is accomplishing. She finished with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
Jennifer Shafer gave the second valedictory speech.
Her message was more personal, speaking about her journey from being a shy bookworm to someone that found value in trying new things and experiences, something she encouraged her fellow classmates to do. “Sometimes you will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory,” she said, quoting Dr. Seuss.
Ian Richards, Senior Class President, then gave an address that was at turns jovial and thoughtful. Richards made a point to thank the school custodians by asking the audience to give them a round of applause for their often unsung efforts before going on to name the usual people listed at such events (faculty, coaches, staff, parents, etc).
Stanley D. Hanson, alumni, friend, and supporter of Madison-Plains, was the guest speaker. Hanson spoke fondly and humorously of his time as a student there many years ago and encouraged the younger generation to exercise, eat right, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and live as stress free as possible.
Superintendent, Tim Dettwiller, gave the declaration of the graduates before presenting the diplomas to each of the class members.
The tassel ceremony officiated by Ian Richards followed.
For a brief moment, the air above the heads of Madison-Plains class of 2018 was a flurry of gold and green caps.
The class of 2018 may soon be off in search of new sites to build bigger nests, but they will always remember they are at heart, Golden Eagles.
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.
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