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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Purdy grads challenged to lead

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As they tossed their mortar board hats to complete graduation, Purdy graduates doused each other in Silly String as a expression of their enthusiasm. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Purdy High School graduates looked back on past experiences and ahead to life after high school during commencement exercises on Saturday.

The 41 seniors in the Class of 2010 filed into a packed gymnasium to the sound of the band directed by James Adams playing "Pomp and Circumstance." In giving the class a greeting, Tristan Branch reminded her classmates they had always been a diverse group. Stormi Zeis added that the completion of graduation meant victory for all the class.

Valedictorian Hollie Murray began her speech recalling kindergarten. A piece of construction paper pinned to one's shirt represented the Leader Badge, the privilege of being the leader for that occasion.

"Now we can all be leaders as we take the first steps in beginning our lives," Murray said. "We no longer require a badge made out of construction paper to bestow that power on to us, for that power to lead has now been instilled within us."

Murray observed their lives as students had been divided into routines. Now teachers would no longer follow with reminders. The ability to jump and land well depended on each person's skill.

Murray urged her classmates to appreciate their parents and teachers who guided them to becoming individuals. She challenged the class to become leaders for themselves.

"Follow your own path, always listening to the voice inside yourself because this is your future to dream about, your dream to live for and your life to lead," Murray said.

"Graduation is where our past and futures collide in front of us," said salutatorian Rebecca Zuno.

Parents, Zuno observed, had completed 13 years of work seeing their children through to graduation. The ceremony in a sense left parents without a job.

"Our job now is to follow our dreams no matter where they take us," Zuno said.

Zuno urged her classmates to dig deep, stretch, dream big and keep going even when quitting seemed better.

"Persist, because with an idea, determination and the right tools, you can do great things," Zuno said. "Believe in the incredible power of the human mind, of doing something that makes a difference, or working hard, of laughing and hoping, of lasting friends, of all the things that will cross your path."

Faculty speaker Sharyn Crouch told the students their group had been the worst behaved class she had had in fifth hour American literature, but at the same time, they had been one of her best classes when it came to discussion.

Crouch urged the class to aspire to be the best in whatever field they pursue. Being the best also meant adaptability. Crouch recalled how her husband, an accountant, had gone from using a slide rule to expensive and large calculators to tiny inexpensive units. Music had gone from phonograph records to MP3 players.

"You will be obsolete in six months if you don't keep up with change," Crouch said. "There were people through the years that balked at the changes occurring, but it did not stop progress. They were left behind grumbling and complaining."

To move forward, Crouch urged the graduates to continue their education. They needed to read or fall at the mercy of someone else telling them what to think. Rather than fear change, Crouch said change should be embraced for bringing new ways to do things.

"Even in nature it is those members of a species that were able to adapt to the changing environment that survived," Crouch said. "I want you to survive. I want you to be able to tell your children that you were the worst and the best class that Mrs. Crouch ever taught."

Between musical numbers by the Senior Choir and the Senior Girls Choir, both led by vocal teacher Lauren Lee, the class stood before the Board of Education and individually received diplomas. A slide show of candid scenes from the school year and group events concluded the program. Closing remarks were offered by classmates Jessica Wall and Erica Brattin. Wall urged forgetting the past and taking chances. Brattin declared the classmates would be friends forever.

"God doesn't give us the people we want. He gives us the people we need," Brattin said. "Now it's time to party like the rock stars we were born to be."

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