Published on LancasterOnline on June 11 and in print on June 12.
Enthusiasm was in the air at Manheim Central High School’s graduation — even if it was a day later than planned.
The sun shined on the maroon caps and gowns of the 232 graduates as they quietly walked to their seats.
Charis Dinger, class president, welcomed the audience and introduced the Class of 2016. She stressed that “failure is inevitable,” but encouraged students to always keep trying.
High school Principal Jeffrey Hughes spoke about the Class of 2016, saying, “graduating is not an easy task … the members of this class excelled in their pursuits.”
He emphasized the feeling of family, commending the students on their work ethic and their participation in the community — namely when more than 50 students showed up to set up for graduation Friday morning.
Valedictorian Anna Burkhart told students to remember where they came from and use it to their advantage.
Salutatorian Emily Stoltzfus emphasized the importance of choices, saying, “Make a conscious effort to serve and encourage those around you and make choices that benefit others.”
Assistant principals Joshua Wetzel and Christopher Fultz presented the seniors with awards and graduate honors, and Superintendent Norman Hatten congratulated the Class of 2016 with pride.
Class of 1993 alumnus Hwaen Ch’uqi, a world-renowned pianist, was the keynote speaker of the event. He took a humorous approach to his address, saying, “Congratulations, you’re freshman again.”
Ch’uqi told students that a key to being happy is “finding out who you are not.”
Growing up he was told that he was different: He lost his eyesight at the age of five. Eventually, he fell into a path of depression and self-hatred and even attempted to end his own life several times, he said.
But then he realized his inherent value when he thought about God and his beliefs in divine intervention.
On that note, Ch’uqi encouraged the students to “find who you are not, and maintain your convictions … be flexible in the things that don’t compromise your values.”