GREENVILLE – It was a packed gym Saturday night as stormy weather pushed family and friends of the 209 graduates of the Class of 2016 inside for the Greenville Senior High School’s 142nd Annual Commencement.
Salutatorian Quintin Edward Muhlenkamp, offered a unique send-off address where he used his knowledge of Geology to compare the years of high school to various forms of rock.
“…Now we are each individual sand grains. We now have a better understanding of who we are and who we want to become. All of us are about to take the journey down the river to see where we end up,” he said. “The one major difference between any one of us and the sand grains is that each of us has the ability to shape our own fate. Unlike the sand grains that get pushed wherever the current takes them, we have the choice to reshape the environment around us and to reach the goals that drive us.”
Valedictorian Francesca (Cella) Marie Masso-Rivetti, didn’t offer a traditional student class address, instead she challenged graduates to make a difference to others and the world through acts of kindness.
“…You should evaluate yourself on something that matters a lot more and influences this world a lot more significantly; how you treat people, who you helped, who you positively impacted,” she said. “…What I have learned and I hope you have, too, is that treating everyone you meet with basic human decency and respect is vitally important.”
“If I’m asking you to take just one thing from this speech, it’s the importance of just being nice,” she said. “Through the coming years, you are going to be putting a lot of time and effort into pursuing your dreams. I’m challenging you to put at least an equal amount of effort into living a decent life that positively impacts all the other lives you come across and influence. I hope you remember that challenge.”
Greenville City Schools Superintendent Douglas Fries delivered a special message and High School Principal Jeff Cassell gave honorary recognition to students. The presentation of the class was given by Cassell; Laura Bemus, assistant superintendent; Stan Hughes, Career Technology director; Carl Brown, assistant principal; David Torrence, assistant principal; and Supt. Fries. Diplomas were presented by Greenville City Schools Board Members: Fred Matix, president; Brad Gettinger, vice president; and members David Ernst, David Madden and James Sommer.
Certificates of Attendance were given to foreign exchange students: Paola Eugenia Marin Santos (Diploma) of Venezuela; Anja Mertel (Certificate) of Germany and Jessica Jil Griebner (Certificate) of Germany.
The orchestra performed pre-commencement selections, the “Star Spangled Banner” and the “Pomp and Circumstance” for the procession and recession of the Class of 2016.
The choir sang a special performance of the songs “Fight Song” and “We are the World.”
The invocation and benediction was given by Rev. Coleen Beasecker of United Christian Church, Clayton, Ohio.