Nearly 700 Graduate EAHS
Think for yourself, learn from your failures and remember who your friends are, speakers tell class.
Easton's class of 2011 ended its high school career Wednesday night with lessons about persistence, hard work and learning from failure.
Then there was Ben Lorigan, one of the co-valedictorians, and his Parable of the Tire Swing.
The story began about 12 years ago, when Lorigan was just starting at Tracy Elementary School. Word on the playground, Lorigan told the audience at Stabler Arena, was that the tire swing was the best ride.
So one day, he got to ride it. He just had no idea how much it would spin. And spin. Motion sickness set in, and up came the chicken nuggets the 6-year-old Lorigan had for lunch.
Most kids ran away, but a few of his friends stuck by him. Lorigan told his classmates there are lessons to be learned here: Don't just believe what you're told. Learn to deal with disappointment. And most of all: "Be the friend standing next to the one who’s embarrassed."
He and his classmates had little to be embarrassed about Wednesday, with close to 700 kids receiving diplomas. Lorigan was considered "co-valedictorian" because classmate Andrew Trinkler had a GPA that was only six-hundreths of a point higher than his.
Also being honored Wednesday: Larry Holmes, the former world heavyweight boxing champion who received an honorary diploma "for his outstanding contributions to Easton area community and Easton Area School District," Principal William Koch said.
Holmes left school nearly 50 years ago before he could graduate, and has said he'd always wanted to be recognized by the district.
"Took 48 years, but I got it," Holmes told the crowd, noting that his children have all graduated from Easton, asking the audience to "forgive" his wife for graduating from Liberty.
"This is like winning the heavyweight championship all over again," Holmes said, and left the students with some advice: "Don’t look for nobody to give you anything. Go get it yourself."
And just as Holmes recalled his roots, class President Sydney Durrah told the graduating Rovers to do the same.
"Whatever your new mascot will be…career path you choose, your Rover blood will never falter," she said. "Don’t ever forget what runs through your veins."