Brooke graduates 199 in 50th commencement

TURNING THE TASSELS — The 2019 seniors made their transition from students to alumni at Brooke High School’s 50th graduation ceremony on Thursday held in the school gymnasium. -- Taryn Linder

WELLSBURG — Brooke High School held its graduation ceremony for its 199 members of the class of 2019 Thursday at Brooke High School’s gymnasium.

Elec Simon, an area native and now performer best known for his part in Broadway’s STOMP, was the keynote speaker and spoke about the importance of remaining true to oneself.

“Stay away from negative people,” said Simon. “If someone says you can’t do something, it means they can’t do something.”

He advised the graduates to be disciplined, consistent and unbroken.

“Don’t let anyone break you,” Simon said. “It’s going to be hard, but you can’t let them break you.”

Valedictorian Emily Donley and salutatorians Josh Caswell and Katherine Marks addressed their fellow graduates.

Donley started her remarks by noting “graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”

“After we receive our diplomas, we will be entering the real world,” said Donley. “Some of us will go to college, some to the military, some to jobs and some may be unsure of what path they’ll take. No matter where you go in life, I wish you good luck.”

Donley told her classmates that since good things come in threes, her three goals to strive for in her next phase of life are to remember her roots, believe in herself and to change the world.

“We are the next generation in a world known for conflict,” said Donley. “I want us to be the generation that makes that change for the better. Find something to fight for.”

Caswell quoted Friedrich Nietzsche, “The end of a melody is not its goal: but nonetheless, had the melody not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. A parable.”

Caswell added, “Wherever you choose to go, keep the Brooke High Melody with you, where each instrument, in harmony or scathingly crashing, creates the memories that could’ve only happened here.”

Marks’ comments to the graduates were inspired by her passion for music and movies.

“Do any of you remember the first time you saw the Wizard of Oz,” asked Marks. “Dorothy follows the yellow brick road to Emerald City and on the way she meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Lion. Each character joins Dorothy on her journey to see the wizard, hoping to be granted: A brain, a heart and for the lion, courage. Why would a ferocious lion need courage? Why would a Bruin need courage? We all have in us, as Bruins, courage.”

Marks added that as Bruins, she and her classmates will meet challenges head on.

Brooke High School Principal Tim Pannett also addressed the graduating class.

“My comments will be concise, as is my style,” began Pannett. “I will not bore you with wonderful quotes or inspiring words of wisdom, the time for that has passed.”

Pannett said the efforts made by the graduating class have been amazingly appreciated.

“You have taken on small tasks as well as global, and reached goals that I never would have expected,” Pannett said. “You have been fun, you have been ornery, you have been a challenge and you have been a huge success.”

Pannett said the graduating class has made his four years completely rewarding.

Assistant Principals George Brindley and Greg Rothwell awarded the diplomas, and the graduates led the gymnasium in singing Brooke High School’s alma mater.

(Linder can be contacted at tlinder@heraldstaronline.com)