Last of last moments end for Marion grads

30 students cross stage to get diplomas
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Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Anthony Tischauser shifts his tassel from the right side to the left Friday night after receiving his diploma at Marion High School.

It went by so fast.

That was the sentiment of many of the student speakers at Marion High School’s graduation ceremony Friday, as 30 went from being seniors to graduates with the administering of a piece of paper — the coveted high school diploma.

Amiya Peterson, Marion High’s senior class president, noted graduation day was something that most in her class had looked forward to for four years, but not all.

“Last year’s senior class president wrote her speech about how the Class of 2018 were losers,” Peterson said. “Our class, the Class of 2019, we’re winners. Now, I know looking at some of us, you may think otherwise. I’m here to reassure you that we are, in fact, winners.”

That point was brought home when one of the grads, Vincent Tolan, received the Jeff Nell Memorial Award, which is given to a graduate whose grade-point average has increased the most during four years of high school. Tolan’s jumped a full point, according to Dan Breitrick, the school’s principal.

The senior year has been a moment of lasts for salutatorian Kendra Barrow. The next year will feel much different, she said.

“I know that we’re all excited about the future, but remember what you leave behind,” Barrow said. “Not too long ago, it was the last Friday night football game, and the next time we return to the stands, we’ll be watching the big game from a different perspective. You won’t be sitting in the student section cheering for the team with your best friends one last time. You won’t be able to dress up for homecoming. You won’t be part of a team or as close with your friends.”

Some of the graduates might not have taken the time to notice that some of those moments were their last, Barrow said.

“Just today, you walked through the high school hallway for the last time as a student and emptied your locker, which you likely shared with your best friend, and you finished your last test with the teacher you might have slightly disliked,” Barrow said. “You also returned your books and said goodbye.”

While many of the graduates have been together since kindergarten, that was not the case for valedictorian Bridget Bazile, who moved into the Marion School District during her freshman year.

“It was honestly quite terrifying,” Bazile said of her first day at the high school. “I had to deal with a new school, new teachers and most importantly, my classmates. If you think it’s easy learning 31 names and shared history, plus the teachers and the community, it’s not.”

Bazile said she appreciated how the school welcomed her and made her feel like a part of the family. She noted that even though she didn’t spend her early grades with her Marion friends, she found out about most of their antics soon enough.

“These memories are important because, in the end, they’re part of our shared history and a huge portion of who we are,” Bazile said.

One thing that has defined the Class of 2019 is its competitiveness, according to Bazile. She said she hopes her fellow graduates will continue to use that competitiveness to succeed in life.

“You don’t get nicknamed the most troublesome class by being perfect angels,” Bazile said.

Commencement speaker Mark Moran told the graduates that the time to dwell on past mistakes is over, and it’s time for them to focus on “future successes.”

“Think about how you have prepared for this point in your lives and those who have supported you along the way,” Moran said. “Perhaps getting up the nerve to participate in forensics, school play, the band, choir or even athletics. Think about what that has meant to you and the person you are becoming.”

Students are preparing to move out on their own, getting their own vehicles in some cases and getting jobs to make a living if they are not continuing to higher education, according to Moran. Through that time, the students have had support from parents, coaches, community members and teachers, he said.

Moran wished the graduates farewell, telling them to “have a good day — and try to behave yourselves.”