GREENVILLE — Friends and family packed the bleachers at Greenville High School’s Harmon Field as the Class of 2018 received their diplomas on Saturday.
Speakers during the ceremony included Pastor Jeff Harper of EUM Church in Greenville; Greenville Superintendent of Schools Douglas Fries; Board of Education President Brad Gettinger and Class of 2018 valedictorians Hayley Maher, Will Coomer, and Landin Brown. Diplomas were presented by Greenville Board of Education members Brad Gettinger, Krista Stump, Mark Libert, James Sommer and Fred Matix.
Superintendent Fries encouraged the Greenville graduates to look to the future.
“Graduation is far from an end,” Fries told the assembled seniors. “It’s the beginning of your future.”
Fries also told the students to be mindful of their personal, as well as professional development in the years to come.
“Become someone that always finds the good in people,” Fries said. “Criticism is easy, but it’s almost never productive.”
Board of Education president Gettinger expressed similar sentiments, asking the graduating class to remember it takes more than just academic success to lead a good life.
“There are resume virtues, and there are eulogy virtues,” Gettinger said. “And resume virtues are important, but eulogy virtues are the things people talk about when you’re no longer around to hear them. Were you patient? Loving? Kind?”
Two-thirds of the graduating class, according to Gettinger, plan to pursue post-secondary education while the remainder will join the workforce.
The Class of 2018 valedictorians, meanwhile, spoke to their classmates about perseverance, hard work and growing up.
“There is so much good we can do,” the first valedictorian to speak, Hayley Maher, said. “This is an amazing time to be alive. Our potential impact is tenfold what it would be in a more tranquil time.”
Maher also wished her classmates a life filled with gratitude, rather than regrets.
“In life, you can either say ‘I’m glad I did’ or ‘I wish I had,’” Maher said. “When it comes to your years in high school and everything you do in the future, I hope each of you can say, ‘I’m glad I did.’”
The second speaker, Landin Brown, talked about the history he and his classmates share.
“Most of us here have grown up together,” Brown said. “We’ve seen the changes and developments in each other every step of the way. Don’t be afraid of these growing pains — embrace them. Instead of making high school your anchor, make it your launching pad.”
Finally, valedictorian Will Coomer told his classmates to appreciate the loved ones they have around them and to give thought to the kind of lives they want to have.
“If you don’t take the time to make the life you want,” Coomer said, “you’ll spend a lot of time dealing with the life you have.”