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Greencastle-Antrim High School's graduates urged to 'never be satisfied with mediocrity'

June 11, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Sarah Vandelia Jansen is the class of 2011 valedictorian for Greencastle Area Senior High School.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Before the traditional deluge of silly string and beach balls marked the end of Greencastle-Antrim High School's graduation ceremony on Saturday, the members of the Class of 2011 reflected on their many accomplishments and the chance to start a new chapter in their lives.

"To the Class of 2011 — after four years, 24 months, 102 weeks, 720 days, 17,280 hours, 1,036,800 minutes ... we have finally made it. Congratulations," valedictorian Sarah Vandelia Jansen said.

Jansen urged the 221-member class to cherish each memory and learn from each mistake.

After days of struggling with writing her speech and looking for help on the Internet followed by more days of procrastination, Jansen chose to speak from her heart.

"Life is extremely short, so why would you waste your time doing something that you hate?" said Jansen, who will attend Penn State's Schreyer Honors College majoring in international studies. "Spend your time doing something worthwhile. Build healthy relationships, help other people, do something you love, never be satisfied with mediocrity, set goals and most importantly, have fun."

After reflecting on many memorable moments, including Taco Bell runs, senior class President Stephen Herman left his class with words of wisdom.

"I leave you with these words of wisdom from King Solomon written in the book of Proverbs, chapter 2, verses 2-4: Tune your ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver. Seek them like hidden treasure," Herman said. "Or as my mom would say, 'Be wise and be a good listener.'"

Herman will attend Taylor University majoring in elementary education.

C. Gregory Hoover, superintendent of the Greencastle-Antrim School District, welcomed family and friends to Saturday morning's commencement at Kaley Field.

"In August 1998, about 170 of you showed up for the very first time," Hoover said. "I followed you through 13 years of schooling here at Greencastle-Antrim, and I learned a lot about you. We thank you for the contributions you have made to our district and our community. You have made us very proud."

Hoover then introduced former Greencastle-Antrim superintendent P. Duff Rearick as the commencement speaker.

"Today, you close a chapter in a book and you start a new chapter in a life," said Rearick, who served as superintendent for 12 years. "What are people going to say about you when you're gone?"

He told the graduates they would have tough choices to make in life, and to be guided by justice, mercy, humility and love in order to make good choices.

"What are you going to be, what are you going to do? Will the world be better because you are here from this point forward? I don't care about what you've done in the past," Rearick said. "It's your choice and it's all determined by what Robert Frost said about the path you choose to take."

High School Principal Edward Rife congratulated the Class of 2011 on achieving many accolades academically, athletically and beyond.

Rife also recognized 23 members of the Class of 1961, who were the first senior class to walk the halls of Greencastle-Antrim High School and graduated on June 8, 1961, with 99 in their class.

The Class of 1961, which is celebrating its 50-year reunion, sponsored a $5,000 scholarship that was given to graduating senior Daniel Combs.

Rife told the Class of 2011 to embrace a part of the Class of 1961's motto: "We build the ladder on which we climb. Build it well and climb with purpose."

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Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2011

Number of graduates: 221
Valedictorian: Sarah Vandelia Jansen
Class President: Stephen Herman

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