Persevere, Brooke grads told

WELLSBURG – Speakers at Brooke High School’s 45th commencement program used the lives and words of inventors, authors, philosophers and others to encourage members of the Class of 2014 to persevere as they attempt to attain their goals.

Valedictorian Cassidy Bland said the inventors of Apple computers and Facebook had to overcome various barriers before their innovations became household names. She told her classmates they should never let a fear of failure stop them from pursuing their dreams.

She quoted Anne Bradstreet, the first published female American poet, who wrote, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Salutatorian Devon Ansell called upon three diverse influences: comedian Bill Cosby, baseball great Babe Ruth and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

He quoted Cosby, who said, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure,” and Ruth, who said, “Every strike leads you closer to a home run.”

Ansell finished with these words from King: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Fellow senior Josh Beck recalled the lives of author J.K. Rowling and Apple founder Steve Jobs. Rowling was living on government subsidies and facing other personal problems when her first Harry Potter novel was rejected by 12 publishers, but she persevered and became a millionaire, Beck noted.

Beck said Jobs became successful at age 20 when he founded Apple Computers, but by 30, he had been fired by his own company’s board of directors. Jobs has said the incident spurred him to be creative again and he developed NeXTSTEP/Intel software and founded the Pixar animation studio, both major moneymakers for him, noted Beck.

Amy Marosz, who ranks among the class’ top 10 students, compared achieving goals to ascending a long staircase with steps of varying sizes and the path impeded by slick surfaces and other hazards and others in the way, including “the pet who has to reach the top of the stairs before you.”

She said some may give up before they start, others may stop before reaching the top but the strong will keep going.

A few of the speakers reflected on how perseverance allowed them to achieve past goals. Senior Gwendolyn Rahr recalled her grandmother teaching her to ride a bike. When, on her first time to steer it alone, she crashed into a telephone pole, her grandmother told her, “Get up and ride, baby!”

Fellow senior Natosha Douglas said perseverance was crucial to her recent completion of boot camp.

Senior Kylie Greathouse, who received the Principal’s Award for her community service, said the Class of 2014 persevered in many ways to reach their graduation day.

But she said the time for dreams and goals isn’t past, as it’s time now for them to set other objectives, to dream not only for themselves but the nation and world also.

Toni Shute, the school’s principal, noted the class’ successes, including collectively attaining more than $1.4 million in scholarships and putting in more than 20,000 hours of community service.

But she reminded they will must endure more obstacles in the future.

Shute quoted inventor Thomas Edison, who said, “I haven’t failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work,” and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail.”

Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson, superintendent of Brooke County Schools, said as they go on in life, they may encounter prejudice, intolerance, financial constraints and other obstacles.

“But that’s OK. You have a solid education empowering you to reach your objectives,” she said, adding they will need to embrace their inner strength while acknowledging their personal flaws.

The class of 2014 includes: Devon Ansell, Shawn Ashbrook, Cierra Bailey, Jessica Beasley, Joshua Beck, Gabrielle Bennett, Olivia Best, Krista Brady, Brittany Burns, Abbie Carpenter, Paul Cervenak, Noah Cheek, Todd Clark Jr., Kelcey Coen, Chase Conant, Christopher Cronin, Emily Czesztyicki, Taylor Dawson, Angelina Deavers, Nicholas DeStefano, Carl Farquhar, Zachary Ferrari, Kylie Fodor, Shane Georgetti, Logan Green, David Hardisty, James Harrick, Heath Hildreth, Emily Hone, Megan Huff, Caleb Isinghood, Brittany Johnson, Katherine Johnson, Tracy Johnson, Mable Jones, Seth Kopchak, Joseph Lancaster, Daryl Lemin, Brianna Leonard, Amanda Loughrie, Amy Marosz, Michael Max, Travis Maynard, Colt Midcap, Mina Mieczkowski, Patrick Montgomery, Kendra Morris, Chelsea Noviski, Kaitlyn O’Donnell, Megan O’Donnell, Nicholas Ossman, Jordan Paris, Sasha Phillips, Courtney Posey, Gwendolyn Rahr, Christopher Raszkiewicz, Alyssa Rice, Dynasty Sayre, Jamie Shaffer, Courtney Shue, Patrick Simpson, Brenna Smith, Ethan Sole, Randall Stevens, Rebecca Stewart, Garret Taibi, Noah Teaff, Rachel Trimmer, Alexandra Velegol, Destiny Walsh, Kelaen Welch, Alexander Wilson, Michelle Woodstuff, Joshua Zonker, Megan Baker, Megan Bilak, Nathaniel Bowers, Kristin Brady, Kristen Bucklew, Casondra Camilletti, Zachary Ciccolella, Sarah Coen, Erin Conaway, Shelby Cronin, Aquil Dameron, Holly Davis, John Dickinson, Natosha Douglas, Adam Eckersberg, Hannah Ensminger, Shelby Fisher, Jacob Folden, Cassandra Galiano, Maurice Gamble, Trey Gilham, Kaitlin Govey, Gladys Grim, Briston Hall, Maxwell Hardt, John Heiserman, Michaela Hinerman, Jamie Hood, Veronica Hunter, Adrian Jeter Jr., Faith Johnson, Sydney Johnson, Bryce Kesling, Nathaniel Knutson, Khristian Koscevic, Megan Lancaster, Amber Martin, Lauren Mazzone, Brandon McGowan, Danielle Milantoni, Austin Mitchell, Meliah Mozingo, Summer Nieder, Casey Olenick, Trina Ostrosky, Brett Parrish, Donald Parsons, Zachary Phillips, Collin Pulice, Kristen Reardon, Shelby Richards, Devan Roksandich, Russell Schwertfeger, Lauren Shelton, Shawn Shorts, Destany Six, Zachary Sloneker, Cheyenne Smith, Caroline Staffileno, Kacee Steiner, Stefanie Stevens, Nicholas Stillson, Aaron Stone Jr., Alexander Tate, Brandon Teeters, Cody Thompson, Destinee Thompson, Brittany Vogtsberger, Alyssa Weekley, Cindy Wells, Cole Williams, Jeremy Wilson, Alison Woods, Tyler Ainscough, John Bado, Katelyn Bailey, Anthony Barnhart, Cassidy Bland, Nigel Bowland, Anthony Brewer, Luke Clark, Ashley Clutter, Kyle Cunningham, Kayla Davis, Samuel Delong Jr., Brandon Dillon, Connor Dulaney, Michael Elliot, Michael Evans, Zachary Fluharty, Nicholas Gallo, Jessica Gehringer, Kaitlin Glasure, Kylie Greathouse, Blake Grizzel, Sabrina Groch, Evan Harrell, Brandi Hawken, Justin Hoff, Joseph Hood, Christian Huff, Ian Hurst, Codi Johnson, Zachary Johnson, Rebecca Kirchner, Dianne Kopchak, Kaylee Kuchinski, Haley Law, Joseph Maderia, Madison Manack, Breonna Martindill, Matthew Mazzone, Trevor McGowan, Devon Miller, Corey Mitchell, Dylan Moore, Robert Moore, Casey Munger, Bradley Nedley, Alyssa Neville, Jesica Osborne, Megan Oughton, Hannah Pauls, Todd Puskarich, Andrew Reed, Aubrie Reynolds, Ryan Rodriguez, Skylar Russell, Ashley Sherman, Alexandra Silvestriadis, Chrisopher Simpson, Joseph Staffileno, James Stewart, Holly Strader, Michael Thayer, John Thompson V, Erica Vanderpool, Kevin Walnoha, Madison Walnoha, Brandon Weisgerber, Karissa Welshhans, Zachary Williamson, Preston Wise, Christopher Woods and Sarah Young.