By Kevin Kelley
“Here we all are. We did it,” Emily Wasserbauer said in opening remarks at the commencement ceremony for the Fairview Park class of 2014, held June 3 at Lakewood Civic Auditorium.
Perfection wasn’t necessarily the goal of high school, Wasserman added. Gaining experience was.
Principal Brady Sheets challenged graduates, as well as their family and friends, in attendance to make an effort to be appreciative of what they have been given at the end of each day.
“You have received an outstanding education,” Sheets told the members of the class of 2014, “and were afforded opportunities that very few individuals around you are given.”
In introducing outgoing Superintendent Brion Deitsch, Sheets said both the school district and the community are improved over what they were 10 years ago when Deitsch was hired.
In his remarks, entitled “Share a Cup of Tea,” Deitsch told graduates to practice three Ts – humility, loyalty and honesty – which he called “the foundation of any successful relationship, team, business or organization.”
“If you have to fabricate, embellish or spin in order to avoid personal accounting, you’re not being honest with yourself, nor humble or loyal,” Deitsch said.
Deitsch also said he was blessed to be employed in education for 34 years and loved going to work each day because he got to work with young people.
Salutatorian Maureen Klag said that even though students came from different backgrounds, all were accepted for who they are.
Klag also alluded to the departure early in their freshmen year of former Principal Kevin Liptrap, who was caught embezzling money from the district. “Someone we all trusted hurt us,” Klag recalled. “But we bounced back and we learned to trust another leader, and as it turned out we learned a lot about the real world in the end.
“Remember, success will come to you as long as you try your hardest and be true to yourself,” Klag told her classmates. “Fairview High School and the city of Fairview Park gave us a wonderful foundation. Don’t waste it.”
Valedictorian Stephanie Miller said graduation was a time for celebration, even though longtime friends would be headed in different directions.
“Today should be a happy time for every single student up on this stage with me today because we are taking the first step to a brand-new journey that will bring each of us to a unique destination,” Miller said.
The class of 2014 accomplished many things while creating a sense of community, she said.
“There are so many wonderful and unique people that make up this graduating class,” Miller said. “We have nerds, athletes, jokesters, actors, singers, volunteers and many more. Everyone in this class has something special to offer, and we are truly an incredible group capable of many things.”
Noting he was the only second-generation Ethiopian twin to graduate from Fairview High School, student speaker Yohannes Palmer-Tesema spoke of the diversity of the graduating class.
“The class of 2014 is like a crazy creation of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream,” he said.
“It’s not really about the colors; it’s about the ingredients and how they all come together in the end product,” he added, noting that students worked hard for their achievements once they set a goal.
In farewell remarks, Jacob Johnson said students entered the high school viewing it as a prison, but left feeling like it’s a home.
“It will be weird not seeing you all for a while,” Johnson said, “but we can meet up in the future.”