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“Life lesson number one: never stop trying. We cannot succeed if we have given up.”
Fleetwood Class of 2012 Valedictorian Jennifer L. Schlegel addressed the 202 graduating students with lessons learned and to continue to live by. As life lesson number two, she encouraged her classmates to experience life outside their comfort zone in order to grow mentally and physically; “you really do only live once.”
“Life lesson number three: live fully and love others. It is the compassion and joy in helping others. One of the most important ideas I’ve learned here at Fleetwood is to enjoy the little moments in life because those are the times that truly make our lives worth living. As the wise philosopher, Kenney Chesney, once said, ‘Step back, smell the rose, feel the sand between your toes. Unplug, unwind, and step out into the sunshine’,” said Schlegel.
SalutatorianKelsey T. Leibelsperger spoke of the closing of old friendships and special moments, but also of the beginning of many opportunities and challenges.
Class PresidentHaley Schlecter asked her fellow graduates “to never underestimate the power in each and every one of you to make a change in society.”
Schlecter wanted everyone to realize how the actions of a few can make a mark to be remembered forever as she reminisced about a food fight her class had become known for.
Through tears and applause, Schlecter said, “Although you’re moving on, do not forget the person you are. Don’t forget your goals, as ridiculous as you may think they are. Don’t forget who you love. Without failure, we would never know the sweet taste of success. We will be knocked down in life, but we will have to get up; we the Class of 2012 will get up. We will show the world what we can do. By all means, do not let the last12 years be the best years of your life. Find the joy in life and embrace it. Your future is now in your hands to be as great as you and you alone can make it. Good luck Class of 2012.”
The opening Pledge of Allegiance was led by Armed Forces enlistees and the senior members of the choir performed “Graduation Blessing” under the direction of Catherine Williamson.
While Fleetwood High School Principal Michael G. DeAntonio presented the students for graduation, School Board President Timothy M. Heffner and Superintendent Dr. Paul B. Eaken presented the diplomas.
After the ceremony, family and friends gathered for hugs and pictures and talked about the fun they had and their future. Allyson Burt spent her years in high school taking part in every aspect of the art department and art clubs, NAHS and Artifact, as well as in English in preparation for her career.
“I’m going to Brigham Young University to study animation. I felt it was a good mix of my talents—writing, acting, drawing definitely, and stuff like that. It would be a really fun job, especially to make movies and work for Pixar,” said Burt.
Burt felt that besides her parents, art teach Diane Chisdak was the biggest influence in her career. Burt’s parents, Kim and Dr. Marlon Burt, Berkleigh Eye Care, Kutztown, met at Brigham when they attended there.
As if in example of Schlecter’s speech, Burt took the last 12 years of her life with family, friends, and schooling and used them to prepare her for the best years of her life yet to come.