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MAHS Class of 2017 says a fond farewell

By David Barr davidbarr@pressandjournal.com
Posted 6/14/17

HARRISBURG — Amid cheers and words of encouragement, the 152 members of the Class of 2017 embarked on the next chapter of their lives Wednesday, June 7, as they graduated from Middletown Area …

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MAHS Class of 2017 says a fond farewell

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HARRISBURG — Amid cheers and words of encouragement, the 152 members of the Class of 2017 embarked on the next chapter of their lives Wednesday, June 7, as they graduated from Middletown Area High School.

For it was indeed the conclusion of just one chapter of their lives, according to Srinivas “Sweeny” Murti, a 1988 MAHS graduate who spoke during the graduation ceremony at The Forum. For more than 16 years, he has been the New York Yankees beat reporter for Sports Radio 66 WFAN.

Murti told the graduates that while it is OK to look back on the previous four years, it is also a time to look forward.

“Whether you choose to continue in college, the work force, or the armed services, your education is only just beginning. Because it is the beginning, now is the time to dream. Dream about where you’re headed. Dream big.”

Murti referenced former Yankees greats Derek Jeter and Joe Torre in his remarks to graduates, imploring them to dream big, but think small.

“Dream big” was in reference to Jeter’s desire to play shortstop for the Yankees as a child and how he told everyone that he would do it, and he didn’t stop until he had reached the peak of his profession.

The “think small” part of Murti’s speech came from Torre, the former Yankees manager, who would tell players to think small, not just in baseball, but in life as well. That’s what Murti challenged Middletown graduates to do.

“Dream big, but think small. Think small and big things will happen,” Murti said. “The road to where you want to go is filled with lots of little steps. Life’s greatest rewards are waiting for you one step at a time. Focus on what you're doing now, do it well and the rewards will come at their own pace. Keep setting small goals and keep winning. When it’s over, you’ll be celebrating something great. Life’s greatest rewards are waiting for you one step at a time. The future is now yours,” he said.

Murti also told the graduates to not forget where they came from and what got them this far in their lives.

“It’s Middletown work ethic that got you here. Middletown work ethic can take you to places you dream of going. Take that Middletown pride and work ethic, take them to the place where your dreams will come true,” Murti said.

Murti helped put that Middletown work ethic on display for the world to see by snapping a selfie on-stage with the class behind him for his 85,000 Twitter followers, much to the roaring approval of the graduates.

Prior to the introductions, parents and friends were treated to a slideshow, featuring the graduates’ senior portraits, with an inspirational message or quote next to them. The quotes came from former presidents, such as Lincoln, Jefferson and Eisenhower, to sports figures such as Babe Ruth, Vince Lombardi and Joe Paterno, to figures in the entertainment industry such as Walt Disney, Eddie Murphy and William Shakespeare.

Valedictorian Shannon Reese thanked the administration, teachers, and family who helped make graduation possible.

“You not only have provided us with opportunities, you have supported us every step of the way,” she said.

Reese reminded the class what they will take with them — academic knowledge learned in the classroom and the memories made in and out of the classroom.

“Despite whatever obstacles we may have faced, we did some incredible things along the way, and I have no doubt we will continue to do great things as we move to the next stages in our lives. As we leave here today, we leave hoping to make our mark on the world. Even though it will be challenging at times, we can take comfort in knowing that we have already left our mark on Middletown,” Reese said.

“Our class and all our accomplishments will be starting a new legacy for Middletown, one that reigns with pride and character. When people look back to see where it all started, they will find it began with the Class of 2017. As we move forward, I hope we continue our desire to make a positive difference, because congratulations Class of 2017, we did it!”

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