BURGETTSTOWN, Pa. - Burgettstown Middle/High School held its 92nd commencement Tuesday at the First Niagara Pavilion.
The theme was a quote by Tennessee Williams - "There is a time for departure, even when there is no certain place to go."
Class President Victoria Fratini gave the welcome.
The Burgettstown High School Class of 2010 tosses their caps into the air as families and friends watch following commencement exercises Tuesday evening. -- Summer Wallace-Minger
"We always knew this day would come, and the time is here, whether we are ready or not," she said.
She told her classmates that the class was small, but would achieve big things.
"We are a small family, but we have big hearts and big minds," she said.
High School Principal Christopher Wolfson gave brief remarks, noting student success was dependent on the support of parents and family.
"The whole world lies ahead of you and it will be whatever you make of it," he said.
He told the graduates that, although the risks will now be greater, so will the rewards.
"This is my wish for you: to make a life for yourself that you want and makes you happy," he said. "Wherever you go, always remember you were a Blue Devil first, and you are always welcome at your home."
Valedictorian Zachary Wenzel gave an emotional speech, telling those in attendance that time had flown by, and he knew his classmates had the talent to be successful. He also spoke about the class' shared childhood and experiences, noting his own with the school band.
"I wish I could tell you I wish I was down there with you," he said to the band members, "but I am good up here."
He quoted the Beatles, noting the graduates had "gotten by with a little help from our friends," although the help might not always be acknowledged, it was always appreciated.
Wenzel then thanked his family and teachers.
"I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you and I love you," he said.
Salutatorian Kacey Milvet also spoke, after noting she had never taken a speech class and asking her classmates to bear with her. She told the graduates she believed that each would find the perfect place for themselves and they all had the tools to be successful. She added that this was not only the end of their high school careers, but the beginning of their adult lives.
Milvet added that, although they might part as a class, they would never lose touch with their true friends.
"Tonight may be the last night we share together for many years," she said.
Jackson noted this was her 13th graduation at Burgettstown, and she had known all of the graduates since their kindergarten year. She praised them for overcoming obstacles to receive their degree.
She numerated the many historical events the graduates had seen in their careers, from Sept. 11 and the Iraqi War to the Haiti earthquake and Gulf Coast oil spill to championships won by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins.
"Congratulations on your hard work and best wishes for a happy and successful future," she said.
Wolfson presented the class to Merle Ayers, Burgettstown Area School District Board president, who presented the diplomas.
Jacob Wiegmann gave the invocation, and Matthew Bechtold gave the benediction. The Burgettstown Middle/High School Chorus performed "The Star Spangled Banner," "Time to Say Goodbye" and "Seasons of Love." The senior class sang the school's Alma Mater, accompanied by the school band.
(Wallace-Minger can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)