Every spot on the bleachers at Harry E. Franks Stadium was filled Wednesday evening as the Neshaminy High School Class of 2012 received their diplomas.
For the over 630 graduating seniors, much of their high school career was filled with talk of the labor impasse between the school district and teachers union. However, Wednesday’s ceremony was about more; it was about remembering the time they spent at Neshaminy and looking toward the future.
“Tonight is our night. We have worked so hard to get here and now we have the chance to use what Neshaminy has taught us - to follow our dreams and make something out of our lives,” Samantha Pipe, who was listed as one of three valedictorians, told her peers.
Pipe and other student speakers reflected on the time they spent in the district’s schools and saluted their friends, family and teachers who have helped them achieve graduation.
“For all the family members, friends, teachers, coaches and directors, who have touched my life over the years, you should know that you have my deepest, heartfelt gratitude,” co-valedictorian Calais Nelson said.
The speakers also talked of the school’s spirit and pride.
Whether cheering at a football game or cheering during gym night, pride is one thing that will always make Neshaminy feel like home, Pipe said.
Jonathan Bell, one of the class’ valedictorians, left the students with a simple message: “Never doubt yourself.”
“Time and again, I’ve seen you do it. You all underestimate your ability,” said Bell. “Doubt increases your chance of failure.”
Bell went on to tell the students they “are all beautiful, strong, and smart people,” and he further said that as they graduate, they should remember to have confidence.
“In a moment, you will be among a group of people dating back many decades who can proudly state, ‘I am a Neshaminy graduate,’” Principal Dr. Robert McGee spoke to the high school seniors gathered in front of him during the school’s 117th commencement.
As the sun fell on the stadium and the ceremony ended, the newly minted high school graduates whipped off their caps and tossed them in the air.
And with that, the seniors became alumni.