Monday, June 13, 2011
Senior members of the Seminary Singers walked out from the crowd of their fellow graduates and joined the choir for one last performance at commencement Sunday afternoon.
Singing “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical “Rent,” the choir asked how does one measure a year — In minutes? In sunsets? In cups of coffee?
Others wondered how to measure a class of graduates.
Many numbers were provided at Poland Seminary High School’s commencement ceremony Sunday in the school’s fieldhouse. Ninety-three percent of the 195 graduating seniors are going to college and, collectively, are receiving $3,858,000 in scholarships, more than any other graduating class from PSHS.
Of those attending college, 145 graduates will attend an institution of higher learning in Ohio, and 76 will stay close to home at Youngstown State University in the fall.
Valedictorian speaker Lidia Mowad noted that statistically “2 percent of us will marry our high school sweethearts ... and 28 percent of us will have kids.”
But commencement speaker William E. Snyder, a Poland chemistry teacher, had a different perspective. He held up a clipping from a local newspaper that named each member of the PSHS Class of 2011.
“When I look at this, I don’t see an endless list of names but an endless list of possibilities,” he said.
Snyder, who retired this year after 37 years of teaching, urged students to not just survive but thrive. He described surviving as being on a treadmill and staying on it at a steady pace.
“If you’re thriving, you jump off the treadmill and are running and dancing through life with purpose, joy and generosity,” Snyder said.
Mowad, chosen to speak on behalf of the eight valedictorians, thanked teachers, parents and friends who had helped the class reach graduation day.
“Now we have the freedom to decide where our lives go from here,” she said.
With that freedom, she said, comes the realization that many members of the senior class will go different directions and drift apart. So instead of saying goodbye to her classmates, she said “au revoir — or until we meet again.”