Published on LancasterOnline on June 7 and in print June 8.
Penn Manor’s commencement featured a twist on their school anthem; this year, the music behind it was composed by senior William Torres Jr.
Student commencement speaker Emily Thyrum also relied on music in her message to the 411 graduates who received their diplomas Tuesday.
“Silence always comes before the music. When the music stops, there is silence again. But the silence has been changed,” Thyrum quoted from a 2013 blog post by the St. Louis Symphony.
She urged her fellow classmates to “make music that will change the silence that you leave behind.”
In his speech, valedictorian Evan Toomey compared high school experiences to a rough draft of one’s personality. “Though complete, (your personality) can be revised and changed as your experiences expand,” he said.
Salutatorian John Reese Zimmerman cautioned fellow graduates that the future can be filled with uncertainties.
“The route will be winding, challenging and frustrating but we must sacrifice comfort for the necessity of progress,” he said.
Quoting John Lennon, Senior Emily Ferrick told her classmates that happiness is the key to life.
“I’ve come to realize that if I focus on myself and focus on being the best version of myself that I can be,” she said to her classmates, “the rest will fall into place.”
Ferrick was the president of the Class of 2016; she passed the torch on to Brooke DeBerdine, who will follow her in that role next year.
“When the Class of 2017 is sitting in those seats next year, we will aspire to leave an impact similar to the one you have left on us,” DeBerdine said.