BLANCHARD — A patchwork of 13 years of unique and individual memories – ones of personal triumph and lessons learned – unfolded Thursday evening as 48 Montabella High School graduates received their high school diplomas.
High School Principal Shane Riley shared a story of using cold water to get his sister up for school. He entertainingly mentioned other known tactics to wake a teenager — the smell of breakfast, loud opera music, a bugle or trumpet and the most invasive technique, the cattle prod, which he adamantly doesn’t endorse.
“As you go forth there are two different types of occupations you might do,” Riley said. “There’s the work that you work up every morning to do, and there’s the work that wakes you up each morning. The first is a must do. The second is a want to. If your goals are in line with something you love, then it isn’t just an occupation. It’s a career that can be filled with moments of zeal.”
Members of the military stood as one example of a passion. Then, after a 47-second pause, Riley shared another – retiring Superintendent Ron Farrell, whose passion is his dedication to the Montabella community.
“It represents each of the 47 years that Mr. Farrell has dedicated himself to education,” Riley said of the pause in his speech to honor Farrell, who will retire next month. “He also provides one of those examples. There are so many more examples. I encourage you graduates to find this type of passion.”
Senior Class President Emily Malina shared her love of Star Trek, as she spoke about change, something many in her class have experienced over the years – some good, some bad.
“Mr. Spock once said, ‘Change is the essential process of all existence,’” she quoted.
Malina said not to base self-worth on a comparison to others, as she had done in her cross country running and academics.
“There’s no comparison between others and yourself,” she said. “We are all individuals. And we are all different. And since we made it this far, we’ve all been successful.
“Success is to be measured, not so much by the position in life that one has reached, as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed,” she said, quoting Booker T. Washington and referencing obstacles she and her classmates had to overcome. “How you react to these situations will be more important than you realize,” she added.
After giving examples of attributes of a respectable person, Malina concluded with a Spock sendoff to her fellow classmates, “Live long and prosper.”
Salutatorian Derrick Moore talked about adapting to change. Moore, a tuba player, received the highest rating at the state band festival this year and will pursue a music degree at Central Michigan University.
“Throughout our lives, we have continued to grow and change,” Moore began. “When we see with empathy ourselves, despite our backgrounds and environments, it becomes much easier for us to adapt to changes and problems that we will undoubtedly face in our lives.”
He believes individuality and open-mindedness is important to developing new ideas and seeing the unique beauty of the world. Moore concluded with an old adage he learned in elementary school, The Golden Rule. “Treat others the way we want to be treated,” he recounted.
Valedictorian Nichole Myers plans to attend the University of Michigan to study finance.
She spoke of building a foundation during high school and working hard to achieve goals.
“The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, but is greener where it’s watered,” Myers referenced. “Our future will be what we make of it. If you want the grass to be green, you have to water it, tend to it and work for it. Don’t ever assume it’ll care for itself.”
Following commencement, graduates traveled to Splash Village in Frankenmuth for an all-night drug- and alcohol-free lock-in provided by Montabella Project Graduation.