Class of 2015: It’s about time!

Photo: Ashley Mercs
Ashley Mercs uses a selfie stick to take a photo of the Class of 2015 at the end of commencement ceremonies.

On May 21, 2015, the graduating seniors of Fairmont High School embarked on the next phase of their lives as they walked down the aisle tonight at Wright State’s Nutter Center.

After four long years of OGT testing, final exams and high school drama, the seniors finally recognized through multiple speeches how much time they had consumed throughout their high school career. The speeches the members of the Class of 2015 gave showed how their four years can be summed up in a matter of seconds, with the sentiment of time being an important factor.

Ethan Hosford kicked off the graduation ceremony for the 522 seniors with a speech emphasizing the idea of how much high school was like the infamous app Snapchat, seeing only 10 seconds of your life flash before your eyes before it was gone forever.

“We will not be able to remember everything in our lifetime,” said Hosford. “But the things that we do remember, the things that matter most, can be remembered in capsules of 10 seconds.”

Jacob Maloney, USB Commissioner of Spirit, showed through his speech, “Joy,” how even through the emotional roller coaster high school has been, joy has always been present. Maloney explained how joy doesn’t always come easily in life, and remembered Joey Sharpe, a boy he was close with who had passed away in fourth grade.

“It is often difficult to understand why such tragedies occur, especially to someone close to you,” he said.

But Maloney recognized that even though Joey was not there physically, he was with them in spirit.

“Joey has grown up beyond his time with the spirit of these seniors. Tonight he is here graduating with us. That is truly a joyous occasion,” Maloney said.

Finally, Maloney ended his speech to his class with words of wisdom.

“Emotions are bound to flare depending on your situation, but there is one thing that will remain true,” he said. “If you hold joy in your heart, it will always return to you.”

Holly Mercs followed in Hosford’s footsteps and gave a speech with time being the main concept. Mercs introduced how time was critical to their future and recognized how much time and effort the students had put into everything over the years. She noted that students are now in charge of what they want to do with their time;  it’s not up to their parents to decide.

“Twenty million, one hundred and sixty thousand seconds have gone by since the first day of high school,” said Mercs. “Just because we have reached day zero doesn’t mean it is time to stop.”

When the speeches and musical performances were finished, Principal Dan VonHandorf announced the class Co-Valedictorians, Patrick Danielson and Brian Lerch, and Salutatorian, Sarah Kane. He acknowledged that this graduating class of Firebirds included 6 National Merit Scholars, 3 National Achievement Scholars and National Merit Finalists, 6 International Baccalaureate Candidates, 8 Calculus III students, 45 Summa Cum Laude Scholars, and 1 student — Cody Priser — who had perfect attendance throughout all 4 years of high school.

VonHandorf also gave credit to the students who excelled in community service, college credit achievement, Tech Prep participation, national Career Tech awards, media and journalism, and music, and he recognized those students who are heading into military service. With all of these awards, Vonhandorf had proved to the Class of 2015 that they had used their time in high school very wisely.

With the speaking done and the recognition given, Fairmont students lined up and waited for their names to be called. They received their Career Passports and prepared to leave the Nutter Center as high school graduates.

The ceremony came to an end with closing words from USB President Ashley Mercs. Just before the turning of the tassels, Mercs whipped out a selfie stick and snapped a picture of the graduating Class of 2015, ending the ceremony with a tradition that former USB President Alex Brandt began just last year.