Hamburg Area High School’s 161 graduating seniors, dressed head-to-toe in red, entered the gym for Commencement June 7, led by the 2019 class officers, Mckenzie Harackel, president; Jasmin Modricker, vice president; Jenny Chen, treasurer, and Julia Doklan, secretary.

“Tonight, very shortly, we will be handed a piece of paper that will cure the senioritis that each one of us has had for so long,” said Salutatorian Alexis Mengel.

“We all have something in common with one another that we cannot deny, so in this aspect, we share a sense of togetherness,” said Mengel. “We have seen each other crying on the recess playground over lost friends and skinned knees. We have seen each other crying over the insecurities that we had during middle school, and we see each other crying today as we are forced to say goodbye to this school and our peers.”

After delivering thanks to parents and teachers, Mengel insisted the Class of 2019 thank themselves.

“Yes, our parents supported us. Yes, our teachers explained all of the concepts to us, but only we as individuals had the power to turn those components into something useful. Seniors, this achievement is truly and purely ours.”

Valedictorian Julia Doklan said that the faces and the names of their classmates will be etched on their brains for many years.

“We have grown up together. We have learned the best and worst parts of one another,” said Doklan. “As new people are learning you, as you step on your college campus or walk through the doors to your new job, show them the parts of yourself that your classmates have loved. Blow them away. Show them honesty and dedication.”

The Class of 2019 was called to the stage one-by-one, each receiving a diploma and officially becoming Hamburg alumni. Parents stood to capture photos of the moment. Thunderous applause soon followed after the students were declared graduates.

Senior Class President McKenzie Harackel quoted John A. Shedd, “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

“I hope you all have the courage and excitement to leave our safe harbor, and embark on our next big, crazy journey,” she said.

“My feelings are all over the place. “I am going to miss all of my friends,” said graduate Ethan Hoke, while Samantha Adams said, “Pure happiness.”

“When I think of the Class of 2019, I think about how diverse the talents are,” said Principal Christopher Beissel.

Graduates will be entering the medical field to the automotive field, some going to four year colleges, entering the workforce, or joining the military.

“There’s just such a wide-variety of skill sets, and I’m very proud of the 2019 class because it seems like the majority of those students found their niche,” said Beissel. “They left Hamburg a better place than when they arrived. And that’s their mark, their legacy. They have contributed a lot to our school and our culture and our community and they should be proud of themselves, and I will be looking forward to their many achievements.”

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