On Saturday morning Bellbrook seniors graduated at James S. Trent Arena in Kettering. Approximately 342 graduates are now gearing up to enter the next phase of their life. Some will be entering the work force while others will be enrolling in colleges all over the world.
“This is the last day the class of 2013 will sit together as a group before you spread from coast to coast to continue your education and become contributing citizens of our country. You are entering the next phase of life and blessed to enjoy rights, opportunities and freedoms which are still the envy of the world,” said Christopher Baker, Principal of Bellbrook High School.
Valedictorian, Lance Crockett brought a tearful start to a wonderful day.
“Thank you to my mom for motivating me to do my best and being my loudest cheerleader through all my ups and downs,” he said as a smile spread across his face and searched the audience for his mother.
“My dad passed away three weeks ago on May 3rd. I won’t go into detail about his fight with brain cancer but, I will focus on what I learned on the whole experience. I cannot remember a day that he complained, while I complained all the time. I thought “why me and why him”. But, it is about how we look at things, how we put it into perspective,” said Crocket. “So, if you have had a bad day or a bad year, put it into perspective. My dad focused on living life to its fullest, even when he lost his job, lost his ability to have normal conversations with friends and family and even when he lost his memory, my dad would still try to sing to God on Sunday mornings.”
“I learned that Bellbrook is a family. It is amazing to see the community of Bellbrook surround our family in our time of need. Don’t ever stop doing that. Don’t ever stop loving people when they need it the most,” said Crocket.
“Never stop living life to its fullest each and every day and never stop fighting what you believe in no matter what the odds are. Never stop loving the community and everyone you will come in contact with in the future,” Crocket concluded. His speech was followed by a standing ovation as the audience wiped their eyes.
This class has accomplished so much. In athletics, the seniors have broken records, scholarships and grants have been awarded and achievements have been obtained. As a class they have cheered each other on, they have faced fears and celebrated achievements. They have lost and they have loved. They will always share a bond that will forever hold them together.
The top ten 2013 academic graduates of the class were:
1. Lance Royal Crockett
2. Adam Joseph Luthman
3. Melanie Marie Slone
4. Rory Readon Brown
5. Peter Joseph Bonavita
6. Natasha Nicole Werts
7. Zachary Thomas Yaufman
8. William Nicholas Barton
9. Derek Matthew Schmitt
10. Zachary Bryant Adkins
“On November 4, 2012, we lost two of our fellow classmates and one of our fellow seniors. Today, we are left with only memories of Julianna Hawk, Skylar Kooken and our fellow senior Sophie Kerrigan. It is important to celebrate their lives and cherish the memories, said Oldham.
“This is only the beginning of our journey. Whether you are going to college, the military or entering the workforce, I challenge you to find a passion and I challenge you to be a positive change in this world,” Oldham concluded.
Graduation is a time where dreams, aspirations and confidence begin. It is a time for our young adults to go off into the world and make their own place in society. Whether they become the owner of the newest restaurant chain, the next president, the scientist that cures cancer or the next Edgar Allen Poe, Bellbrook High School has prepared them to strive for the best.
Their time starts now.