locally owned since 1854

Middletown Area High School graduates Class of 2018: 'Show them how great you are'

Posted 6/7/18

HARRISBURG — Cheers echoed throughout the Forum Auditorium as the Middletown Area High School Class of 2018 threw their graduation caps in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Middletown Area High School graduates Class of 2018: 'Show them how great you are'

Posted

HARRISBURG — Cheers echoed throughout the Forum Auditorium as the Middletown Area High School Class of 2018 threw their graduation caps in the air.

One hundred and fifty-eight seniors graduated on June 6, and commencement speaker and 1981 MAHS graduate Gladys M. Brown encouraged the students to prepare themselves for opportunities.

She is serving her second term on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and was appointed as chairwoman in 2015. This is the second time Brown has been commencement speaker for MAHS’ graduation.

“The plans you may have in mind may not come to fruition. The path of life you may think is a straight one, but it’s not,” Brown said.

She said the students might think that they are preparing themselves for their futures by graduating high school and preparing to enter either higher education, the workforce or military service. Life, she said, has twists and turns and, at times, dead ends.

Brown shared that she thought she was going to be a doctor when she was in high school.

When she was a senior in high school, she took a law and government class. Brown said she realized that the subject area clicked for her and eventually decided to go to law school.

“As you will hear often in your life, things don’t happen the way you plan. They may be good, but they don’t happen the way you plan,” Brown said.

She recalled when she tried out for the basketball team when she was in middle school. Brown said she wasn’t good at basketball, but went tried out because her friends were trying out.

Brown didn’t make the team and wasn’t even the first choice to be water girl. But when one of the water girls dropped out, Brown was picked. She said she developed skills — organization, focusing on the details and following instructions — that helped her throughout her professional career.

“I went from water girl to chairwoman. I think I did OK,” Brown said.

Life is how you respond to the challenges placed in your path, she said.

“When you fall down, are you going to just stay down or are you going to get up?” Brown said.

How to respond to challenges and failures was a common theme during some of the speeches during the graduation ceremony. Salutatorian Gabriel Wisniewski told his peers that failure is part of life, adding that the people who see failure as a “stepping stone for success” are the ones who will create a legacy.

He joked that he did not want to end his speech on a gloomy note. Wisniewski said he was disappointed that he was not valedictorian.

“But I have great friends, and my football friends reminded me that there’s nothing wrong with second place,” Wisniewski said.

Regardless of how afraid we were in the past, we have to face the future now, valedictorian Sarah Fluke said.

She remembered learning the song “Laurie’s Song” from Aaron Copland’s opera “The Tender Land” in her vocal lessons. The song, she said, is about Laurie’s fear and excitement to leave home after graduating from high school.

“Everyone of us is Laurie,” Fluke said. “All of us have been Laurie. Now, it’s time for us to become ourselves.”

She thanked the graduates’ loved ones, friends and teachers.

Superintendent Lori Suski said the seniors would be remembered for their philanthropy, advocacy for each other and kindness.

“Now, Class of 2018, it is your time,” Suski said. “We believe that you are ready to go out into the world and make your mark. We are all here tonight to cheer you on.”

MAHS Principal Michael Carnes gave the graduates a challenge at the end of his speech:

“Show them how great you are. Congratulations to the Class of 2018.”