Octorara High School Class of 2016: ‘Be the change you wish to see’

Published on LancasterOnline on June 9 and in print June 10.

Despite the windy weather, Octorara High School’s 60th annual commencement ceremony was held outside Thursday, when 144 graduating seniors celebrated the start of a new beginning.

Principal Scott Rohrer kicked off the commencement by welcoming two alumni from the Class of 1966. Rohrer compared the students’ ascent into the real world to the movie “Back to School,” where the kids were urged, “Don’t go! It’s rough out there.”

He followed up with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Valedictorian Alexander Rogers spoke about uniqueness and need for counteracting the stereotypes presented to young adults. “Uniqueness is achieved by defying a type card,” Rogers said.

Student commencement speaker Alexander Meek spoke about how he turned to music when an injury prevented him from playing basketball. It was during this time, he said, that he embraced playing the trumpet; he made it to the All State Concert Band.

He encouraged students to look for different ways to get solutions, to approach problems from a different perspective. “Success is not a concrete milestone,” Meek said.

Senior class President Autumn Ellis told her classmates not to throw away their shot at something great. She also made a tribute to Carly Imbierowicz, an Octorara student who died in 2014.

 Senior Danielle Durning closed out the student speakers with a speech urging students to remember that “Life is not fear and darkness. It’s color, the astounding ways we’re connected.”

Durning encouraged her fellow classmates to find happiness, and to make happiness happen in other people. “Go out and do good … find the beauty that dwells in you. (It) makes life extraordinary.”

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