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MHS seniors have graduation

By Eric Christiansen

NORTH MANCHESTER -- In a ceremony a month and a half in the making, 144 Manchester High School graduates said good-bye to classmates, teachers, and friends and hello to the future.

With a limited audience of four guests per graduate at the Manchester Junior-Senior High School football field and stadium Friday night, July 17, Student Council President Devin Marcum welcomed those in attendance.

“One Friday we were told we would miss two weeks of school,” Marcum said. “Little did we know we would never return. Little did we know we would never play our final game, we would never sing our final song, or take our final bow. But tonight, that all changes.

“In one historic ceremony to complete one unique year, we take one final stand as the Manchester High School Class of 2020.”

Salutatorian Caleb Stout addressed the senior class and talked about the journey they have endured.

“Every destination is enhanced by the journey one must voyage to it. Today is no different,” Stout said. “Without the journey we have taken over the past several years, the meaning of today’s ceremony is lost. Our arrival at this point will be treasured for the rest of our lives, not because of these silly outfits we wear or the certificates we receive, but because of the journey that led us all to this point.”

Stout cited the book “Pilgrim's Progress” by author John Bunyan that Stout called an allegory about our journey through life and the adventures of a young man name Christian.

“The book details his encounters on the journey, many of which greet him with great difficulty. He is joined by companions to support him along the way, and he would have failed to reach his destination without their help,” Stout said.

Stout compared Christian's journey to that of the MHS Class of 2020.

“My friends, we too and no stranger to trial and tribulation. We have been met with many obstacles in our education. This year alone has given us plenty of challenges,” he said.  “We missed out on spring athletics; we had to finish our high school careers doing classes alone online; our ceremonies have been altered and postponed, and if you can remember the beginning of the year, you will painfully recollect the day we lost homecoming.

“The journey has not been easy, but yet here you are. Here we are,” Stout said. “My each of us approach the future with confidence, ambition, humility, enthusiasm, and courage … I love you all … take pride in this journey we have taken together.”

After a music number, “Rivers and Roads,” performed by Madisyn Schmidt, Justin Self and Devin Marcum, and the Recognition of Honorary Graduates by Communications Director Randy Self, in place of MJSHS Principal Dr. Jon Lippe, who was at his daughter's graduation ceremony, Co-Valedictorian Justin Self took to the podium.

Self likened what he called a “crazy year to graduate” to his summer job washing windows.

“The process for washing a window is pretty simple,” Self said. “The first thing you do is mop the window. Then you scrub the dirt off. Then finally you get to squeegee all the stuff off the window. Nothing beats that moment when you pull the squeegee across a really dirty window and see the clear view on the other side,

“While the mopping and scrubbing is not the most fun part of cleaning, you find it is important work in order to get a clear window,” he continued. “During our time in school we have faced many situations in which we could not get a clear view of the future.”

Self told of his first lunch in the high school cafeteria and feeling intimidated.

“I'm sure many of us felt intimidated at some point during our early years at the high school,” he said. “We did not know who we were or where we might fit in. We all struggled with these questions in different ways but somehow we made it here. It took some work but it became clear to us who we were.”

He spoke of the uncertainty facing the graduate with each day bringing more questions and uncertainty.

“Unlike cleaning windows, life does not always follow a particular process,” Self said. “But we can learn a little bit from the window cleaning process. There will be times when things get fuzzy again because things happen and circumstances change.

“But we will keep scrubbing and keep finding clarity and we will come out better on the other side.”

After the graduates received their diplomas Senior Class President Sam Reichenbach concluded the evening.

“While this field accompanied the loss of our senior class homecoming game, that stunning occurrence is surpassed tonight by our biggest victory – graduation,” Reichenbach said. “As we leave this place tonight, I encourage you all to never forget the memories we've made with each other, including waking up earlier than we wanted to for the PSAT, sitting with closest friends at lunch, and who can forget when our class raised money and for Caring and Sharing and the CanJam Dance?

“On behalf of the class, I'd like to thank all the parents, family, faculty members, and faculty for being here tonight and supporting us these past 12 years,” he said. “And to my classmates, in the years to come, if our paths cross again, let us all reminisce our high school journey. Don't be a stranger.”

Posted on 2020 Jul 21