Published June 22. 2010 4:00AM Updated June 22. 2010 8:45AM
Griswold - The 170 members of the Class of 2010 were encouraged to reflect on their careers at Griswold High, but not dwell on the memories - there are too many more to make.
Each speaker during Monday night's commencement applauded the graduates for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom or on and off the athletic field and stage.
Yet each reminded the graduates that while they've completed one important chapter in their lives, once they left the humid GHS gymnasium, with diplomas in hand, they were expected to begin writing their next.
Commencement speaker Elizabeth Bartlett, the class salutatorian, shared the metaphorical advice she'd received from a teacher several weeks before as a way to encourage her peers to "not to get stuck in the parking lot."
"We need to accept that it is now our responsibility to define what our lives will become. It's time to grab onto those responsibilities we've been struggling to gain throughout our teenage years and use them to ensure our futures are filled with happiness and promise," Bartlett said.
Principal Mark Frizzell said each graduating class has left a mark on his heart but when asked what he'll remember most about the Class of 2010, he said his memory will be of the gifts that one student, and all of his friends, was able to bring out in each individual within the high school.
The gifts of respect, kindness, responsibility, integrity and humor that graduating senior Joseph "J.J." Castagnaro, a special needs student, was able to glean from his peers is priceless, Frizzell said.
Superintendent of Schools Paul Freeman told the graduates that they are not leaving high school alone, as thousands have made investments in them. He said those investments have prepared the graduates for a lifetime of learning.
"We believe in you, we trust you and we expect of you," Freeman said.
For Board of Education Chairwoman Elizabeth Dorff, graduation presented a special opportunity to bid adieu to a group that she has watched mature, as her daughter Katina was among the graduates.
Dorff told the class that as corn is a precious crop for a farmer, they are the precious crop of the greater educational community. She said as the graduates embark on their next adventure they will carry with them the burden of being the stewards of the Earth, reminding them that by their votes and their consumption they will shape their greater community.