An end ... and a beginning

Plymouth High School graduated 201 students June 5 at Plymouth City Park with hundreds of family and friends in attendance.

The Commencement Band, directed by Jason Sebranek, performed the processional and recessional.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Kayla Lentz, Student Council president. Kayla, also president of the PHS National Honor Society, welcomed those gathered and later directed students to shift their tassles. She also announced the new inductees to the Plymouth High School Alumni Hall of Fame: Darwin Blanke, Thomas Kestell and Lisa Jaster.

PHS Principal Jennifer Rauscher explained the school’s cum laude system and the different color stolls worn by students: bronze for cum laude, silver for magna cum laude and gold for summa cum laude, the highest recognition.

Rauscher also explained how the class exemplar is chosen - the selection committee looked for a student who is a team player, a visionary and a risk-taker, who most importantly gives back to his community.

They chose Brandon Herrin, who talked about the need for all of us to have and to be champions. “Because people have been champions to you, you owe it to them to be a champion to others,” he told his classmates.

Brandon shared the story of how he helped a coworker get acclimated to the community. “Sometimes when we think we aren’t helping very much, we actually are,” he said.

The Senior Choral Ensemble, directed by Amanda Gaura, sang “Good Riddance,” arranged by Mike Taylor.

Superintendent Carrie Dassow told the students that they now have the knowledge, skills, confidence and courage to achieve their dreams, and the generosity to make a difference. “This is a very proud day for our community,” she said.

Dassow introduced the commencement speaker, PHS social studies teacher Dan Lamb, who was chosen by the seniors to give the address.

Lamb imagined the advice that “three and a half” famous people would give the students:

From Ben Franklin: “He’d say never stop learning,” Lamb said. “Ben Franklin was a life-long learner long before the terms existed.”

From Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo: This pair of early 1800s English economists (which Lamb counts as 1½ since they form a team) held different opinions about key economic principles, but wrote to one another and together developed a better understanding of the issue - and an incredible friendship. “Even though we live in a country dominated by political division, it’s possible to create friendships that transcend those divisions,” Lamb said. “Be friendly with people you disagree with.”

From Teddy Roosevelt: As president, he gave federal protection to Yosemite, thereby helping create the National Park Service 100 years ago. “If he could be here, I think his message today would be: Take time to get away from the usual grind and enjoy the therapeutic effects of nature!”

Lamb also offered his own advice: “Less is more.” That might mean less activities or less photos of your latest experience or less money. “You might actually be happier in a smaller house - with less stuff in it,” he said. “If we could get Henry David Thoreau back here today, he’d probably tell you that. Wouldn’t it be great to sit down with Thoreau and watch a few episodes of ‘Hoarders’?”

Board of Education members Tony Backhaus, Jamie Gambrell, Pam Holzhaeuser, Tim St. Clair and Richard York presented diplomas to students.

Review photos byEmmitt B. FeldnerStory byJamie Piontkowski Review photos byEmmitt B. FeldnerStory byJamie Piontkowski

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