A sizzling send-offBattling sweltering heat, Ephrata says goodbye at 116th commencement
By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff email@example.com, Staff Writer
Review "It’s a gorgeous night," said Dr. Gerald B. Rosati, superintendent, as the crowd of parents, family and friends gathered for the 116th Ephrata High School commencement on June 8.
Drinking water jugs placed at the bottom of each section of bleachers provided guests with some relief from the mid 90s temperatures as they prepared to share in this milestone in the 295 students’ lives.
After the graduation choir had set the tone for the evening with the "Star Spangled Banner," Dr. Rosati invited the seniors, as they embark on their journey toward their future, to "examine the world from a perspective of contribution…the more you give the more you get in return."
The 2011 class president, Lauren Smith, welcomed those in attendance as they began to celebrate "the end of a journey and the beginning of a lifetime."
Smith recognized those who have been the strongest source of encouragement over the years by asking the parents of the Class of 2011 to stand and be recognized. She then presented her fellow students with her sincere wishes for them for the future.
"Make every day your masterpiece, do what you love, be more concerned with your character than your reputation and don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life."
The principal, Mrs. Joane Eby, gave the aspiring young adults her own unique words of encouragement.
"Don’t spend so much time trying to choose the perfect opportunity that you miss the wrong one," she said. "You have the power within yourselves to change the world."
This year’s class included students of many talents, from star high school athletes and scholars to a bronze medalist in the world taekwondo championships.
For one student in particular, the road to to this night was surely a milestone not to be soon forgotten.
Timothy Hubach, better known as Tim "The Rock" Hubach (rock ‘n rollin Elvis fan that he is), began his walk to the stage just like anyone else, but the cheers filling the air and standing ovation from his classmates made it clear he was not just anyone.
Born with Down syndrome, Tim’s path has been one filled with challenges. His parents, Stephanie and Fred Hubach, started the process of "inclusion" in his education at an early age, something that was not always done years ago, in order to give him similar opportunities as other students…eventually leading to walking with the rest of his senior class at graduation.
"In elementary school he had the same aide the whole way through. We worked on developing more of a natural system," said Stephanie, who feels that through the help of early intervention, church, school district and life skills, Tim’s schooling went much more smoothly.
"We feel so blessed that everyone’s been so supportive," she added.
Tim’s willingness to try to excel, friendly demeanor and constant drive to help others, in his mom’s opinion, helped him to achieve what he deserved.
"Tim has the good gift of encouraging people and he is well connected in the community," praised Stephanie.
Tim spent this past school year studying in the classroom in the morning and working at Crossroads Family Heath in Brownstown doing faxing and filing in the afternoons. This was part of a "transition" phase, which will continue in the upcoming year as he leaves the classroom and takes on more hours at Crossroads as an intern.
During high school Tim was a basketball manager and even was placed on the roster and able to play in the last varsity game. He also was involved in musical activities.
"My favorite thing was marching band," said Tim. I played the bass drum in the pit."
Also a witty star on "Ephrata AM," Ephrata’s morning show and his claim to fame, Tim had mixed feelings about leaving school and moving forward.
"Ephrata AM is more than just a show. It’s about friends," said Tim. "And when my friends stood up for me at graduation it touched my heart," he added.
A new tradition was started as bubbles blown by the seniors filled the air this year in celebration. But some things remained the same, one of those being the highlight many look forward to — the student speakers.
The first of those was the senior earning the title of valedictorian, Nathaniel Latshaw. The son of Todd and Melissa Latshaw, the top student graduated with a final GPA of 4.508.
"I felt relieved for it to be official," said Latshaw. He was in the number one spot for most of his four years, but as tradition holds the valedictorian is not announced until shortly before graduation.
Latshaw will be attending Dickinson College this fall, double majoring in mathematics and economics and hopes to eventually go to graduate school.
"The past two years Mr. Buck and Mr. Hagen (math and economics teachers) were really influential in helping me to decide my major," Latshaw admits.
And fortunately for those who followed his success on the EHS soccer team last fall, he plans to continue playing the sport at Dickinson.
When he spoke to the crowd, Latshaw encouraged his fellow students to strive for success.
"In my opinion, success is the feeling of having no regrets. It comes from knowing you did your best," said Latshaw.
In a verse of the poem he recited titled "The Victor" by C. W. Longenecker, Latshaw encouraged his peers even more to think positive thoughts…"Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man; But sooner or later the man who wins is the man who thinks he can."
The remaining three speakers, chosen based on their essays, were Caitlin Eckman, Robert McLaughlin and Christopher Prosser.
Eckman took the crowd back through the years to first grade, showing how fast the time has gone.
"My parents were there with tears in their eyes, snapping pictures and wishing me well," Eckman said. "Here I am today and, surprisingly, not much has changed, with the exception of my lunchbox. I see my parents with their camera, snapping pictures and wishing me well," she added.
The senior expressed the knowledge that tonight is the first night of moving on to the next steps in their lives, "steps that will take us away from two groups of people we’ve become accustomed to seeing on a daily basis. The first group, the teachers…And the second group, our peers."
When it was time for his speech, McLaughlin expressed to those assembled how this night is the "transition — from lives over which we have relatively little control to lives over which we have almost complete control."
He went on to stress that although each person there has the ability to achieve success, happiness is a necessary condition for that success.
"So, rather than seeking grand and illustrious plans in the quest for success, simply chase happiness … capture every bit of it that you can, and success will assuredly follow," he concluded.
Prosser, the final speaker, lightened things up a bit as he urged his classmates to breathe a sigh of relief with his words, "We made it."
A few chuckles from his audience followed as he went on to express how each triumph and tragedy has shaped the seniors into who they are, with his words, "As we crawled from cooties to crushes, we had no idea that we were traveling the road from small-minded childhood to where we now stand; on the brink of our adult lives."
As the students walked to the stage and the members of the Board of Directors presented them with what they had been working towards for years, the words Board of Education President Timothy W. Stayer spoke only minutes before seemed fitting.
"You will remember this night as an accomplishment," he said.
Each student in the Class of 2011 was now holding the key to their future — their diploma. More GRADUATION, page A3
Posted: June 15th, 2011 under News.