homepage logo

Graduates challenged to ‘make a difference in the world’

By Staff | Jun 13, 2019

RUTH FRY/The Luminary After receiving diplomas at Hughesville’s annual graduation ceremony, 115 students tossed their caps into the air.

HUGHESVILLE – A light breeze blew across the football field as Hughesville High School’s class of 2019 culminated their high school career at the district’s 126th commencement Tuesday night, June 4, 2019.

Commenting on the crowd of family and friends filling the bleachers, Michael Pawlik, district superintendent, said it was inspiring to see so many people there to celebrate with the graduates.

“It truly does take a community to raise a child and everyone’s presence here this evening is a testament to the value placed on education in our community,” he said.

“Thrilled as you may be to have completed your journey at Hughesville, leaving will still be difficult and bittersweet,” he told the graduates.

“After all, side by side with the classmates seated around you, you have completed over 14,000 hours of classroom instruction. You have played on sports teams, performed on our stages, you’ve participated in clubs and most importantly you have made a lot of close friends,” he added.

RUTH FRY/The Luminary Standing together before graduation ceremonies and practicing their speeches are Evan Stutzman, Salutatorian and Valerie Ammar-Khodja, Valedictorian.

Pawlik went on to detail all the things the graduates would miss now that they are moving on, but ended by saying, “It has been a long journey for you and I hope now you realize that you never were alone.”

“As you move forward, to a world filled with possibilities, set your goals high and settle for nothing less than your best. Do not put your dreams on hold until tomorrow, because as Robert Orben said, ‘time flies, it’s up to you to be the navigator,’ ” he said.

He concluded by challenging the graduates to make a difference in the world, “because you should and because you can.”

Other speakers for the evening included Lauren Hall, class president, Evan Stutzman, salutatorian and Valerie Ammar-Khodja, valedictorian.

Noting that he was the second in his family to graduate from Hughesville High School, Stutzman challenged the graduates with a scripture verse from 2 Timothy, which he said would help him and his classmates through the next stage in their lives.

RUTH FRY/The Luminary Following the procession, the Hughesville High School Class of 2019 stand together for the National Anthem.

He urged them to remember the past so they would know where they are going in the future.

“In order to find our direction to know where we’re going, we must first know where we’re coming from,” he said. “My point is the place we leave from is just as important as the direction we’re going now.”

Ammar-Khodja told the crowd that she wanted to begin by thanking all the giants in her life.

“As Isaac Newton once said, ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,’ ” she said.

She noted that it was by the guidance of others that she was able to achieve what she did during her time at Hughesville, and the teachers who helped her along the way.

Around 115 students received their diplomas at commencement.