Patch High School sent 122 graduates out into the world June 9 to write some history, as their class motto states.
Members of the school’s 32nd class crossed the Sindelfingen Stadthalle stage to accept their high school diplomas and continue on their path into adulthood.
The class of 2011 must ready themselves for challenges like none they have ever faced before, said Brian S. Hamilton, salutatorian.
And they have what it takes.
Hamilton said that while he has only been a student at Patch High for a year, he has seen the best attributes in all of his classmates.
“If any group of people that I know can endure these challenges, it is you,” he said. “For the past four years, all of us have had an atypical high school experience. We have been forced to say goodbye to close friends. We have moved and watched friends move.
“We may not have had the typical high school experience, but we persevered nonetheless.” Valedictorian James Penrod stressed that he and his classmates must be careful not to squander their amazing potential.
“The next couple of years could be some of the best of our lives or some of the worst,” Penrod said. “High school has emphasized the importance of balance, which I bet that college or the military or the work place will rearticulate. The difficulty for us is to have fun and enjoy our newfound freedom without letting it hamper our judgment.”
Commencement speaker Brig. Gen. Christopher Haas, commander of Special Operations Command Africa, whose son Marshall Haas was among the graduates, offered guidance to the young adults embarking upon the path of making history.
“Continue your education regardless of your chosen profession or track…read, read, read and learn something new throughout your life,” Haas said. “Seek mentorship. Find an advisor, a trusted person to help along the path. The Africans have a saying, ‘if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’”
Haas also advised them to never stop seeking. “Seek grace and dignity in both triumph and failure … seek opportunities to serve others … seek out virtue in your daily life and adopt a code of uncompromising principles.”
Principal Steven Sanchez, describing the class as millennials who are masterful at multi-tasking, said he had no doubt the graduates would do extraordinary things in the years ahead.
“… This generation can multi-task, talk, walk, listen, type and text,” Sanchez said. “I would add often all at the same time … I believe this generation has skills that they probably think are ordinary, but I believe they are extraordinary.
“They just make it look easy.”