2010 grads ‘walk’ into the next chapter

More than 550 Fairmont High School seniors crossed the stage at the Nutter Center on Thursday, June 3, and became Fairmont graduates. The Class of 2010 went out with style in an evening marked by lots of accolades, laughter, hugs and the tossing of mortarboards into the air at the end.

Fairmont’s 27th annual commencement ceremonies include speeches by seniors Annelise Bodary, Emily Miller and Tim Green, as well as a musical performance by senior members of the Concert Band with soloist Daniel Cassidy and senior choir members singing “Omnia Sol.”

Among the graduates receiving diplomas was Fairmont’s first class of International Baccalaureate diploma candidates. Students included: Annelise Bodary, Lauren Bruns, Allie Dyer, Andrew Slusher, Nathan Streithorst, Amanda Turner and Katherine Ygbuhay.

The commencement also marked Fairmont’s first single valedictorian and single salutatorian. Valedictorian Amanda Turner earned a weighted grade-point average of 4.4821 and was recognized as the top student in Montgomery County, while Emily Stienecker was the salutatorian with a 4.4000 GPA.

Another 32 graduates were named Summa Cum Laude Scholars for having achieved a GPA of 3.9 or higher.

Along with those honors, other graduates were recognized for awards that were voted on by the Fairmont faculty. The Dave Rayburn Citizenship Award went to Molly Becker, the Firebird Service Award to Kim Seitter, and the Firebird Seniors of the Year were Emily Miller and Mike Herman.

Words for the graduates came from James S. Trent, president of the Board of Education, and Fairmont Principal Dan Von Handorf. Von Handorf specifically recognized a wide range of graduates for their wide range of accomplishments, including the fact that the Class of 2010 earned just over $6.4 million in scholarships and college credits.

When it was their turn to address the audience of seniors, graduates and friends, the senior speakers offered words of encouragement and congratulations to their classmates and thanked their teachers and families.

Bodary noted the work of teachers “who stay long hours after school helping students, grading papers and preparing lessons” and the “compassion of the staff who cheerfully cater to the needs of the student body day in and day out.”

Miller told her fellow graduates that “life as we know it will never be the same.” But she encouraged students to remember the power of optimism when fighting fears and anxiety about the future. “Optimism will help you realize that no matter how tough it may seem, and no matter how overwhelmed you feel, you will succeed,” she said. “And I have no doubt that the graduating Fairmont Class of 2010 will be very, very successful.”

The final graduate to speak was Green. “The world is waiting for us, and all the pessimists are saying, ‘Wow, once those kids walk out there the world is going to happen to them,’” he said. But Green assured the seniors that they could handle the big challenges ahead. “It’s nothing we can’t handle. The world will not happen to us. We will happen to the world.”