A quote by 19th century writer Ralph Waldo Emerson was the Seymour High School Class of 2015’s motto.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” will stick with the 307 members of the class as they move forward in the real world.
That motto was on their minds Sunday in the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium as they listened to speeches, received their diplomas, turned their tassels, tossed their caps and walked outside to greet family, friends and well-wishers.
Graduate Morgan Reichenbacker said she will always remember the closeness of the class.
“Our class is like the best class in the whole world because we were always doing stuff together,” she said. “Jake Engel, I’m going to have to give him a shoutout because he organized so many things for us, and we just all came together, and it just always was awesome.”
Fellow graduate Michael Mosley said he appreciates the dedication of the school’s teachers.
“All of the great teachers here, especially Mrs. (Celeste) Bowman for helping us decide what to do after high school,” he said.
Mackenzie Covert had mixed emotions about her experience.
“I loved it. It was fun, and I’m definitely going to miss it. I’ve learned a lot, definitely a lot of life lessons, a lot of education,” she said. “But there were a lot of things I wish I would have done different.”
For Luis Ramirez, the whole experience at Seymour High School was good.
“All these years, they have prepared me for the future, and the teachers have been good,” he said. “This whole experience has been good teaching for all of us. The staff and teachers, they are great influences on the students.”
In her welcome address Sunday, class President Katy Nolting said Seymour High School gave the class a foundation for the future.
“Four years ago, we entered SHS as naive freshmen not knowing what high school would bring,” she said. “Today, we leave with knowledge, responsibility and determination prepared for the next chapter in our lives.”
Into the unknown
Now that their diplomas are in hand, both Reichenbacker and Mosley will turn their attention to serving in the United States Navy.
“I leave in 30 days,” Reichenbacker said. “It hasn’t really hit me yet that we’ve graduated. But as soon as I’m on the bus on my way to ROTC, I think it’s really going to hit me that this is real life.”
Mosley said he feels he made the right decision in joining the military.
“Mrs. Bowman would always have guest speakers come in, and we saw him multiple times, the recruiter,” Mosley said. “I just really thought the military was better for me than college.”
Covert and Ramirez both are heading to college.
Covert is going to take general studies classes at Ivy Tech Community College in Columbus.
“I decided to graduate a year early,” Covert said, adding that she had credits built up. “But I don’t know what I want to do. I’m going into general education and will see what leads me past there.”
Ramirez plans on studying mechanical engineering at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus.
“I kind of want to own my own business, just doing something that I love,” he said.
As everyone goes their separate ways, members of the class are excited to see what the future holds for each other.
“I think this class is going to do some really amazing things because we all came together, they are all team players, they are really motivated,” Reichenbacker said. “Even if they weren’t doing good, like a lot of us were slacking there toward the end, we pulled together and helped each other out.”
Covert said the class is like a big family.
“We all became very close within the years,” she said. “We have a lot of potential. We have some great students that can make some good things out of themselves.”
Ramirez said he also sees a bright future for the class.
“Each class has its own potential,” he said. “Each class is different. Not all classes are the same. You learn different lessons form each class.”
Nolting said it’s important for the class to never forget the bonds that will never be broken.
“Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time, we grew side by side,” she said. “Our roots will always be tangled, and I’m glad for that.”
Daniel Hauersperger relied on his experiences in track and cross-country in delivering his salutatorian address, saying commencement isn’t a finish line but rather a starting line.
“Many of us in this gym are very fortunate, and I hope we use the talents we have been blessed with to bless others to the best of our abilities,” he said. “Then when we cross the finish line, I hope we can all appreciate how we used the time we’ve been given and not have regrets of how we could have lived better.”
Class valedictorian Chloe Wahl said while graduation is a time of goodbyes and change, their roots will always remain the same.
“It is almost comforting to know that even though we are all growing up, moving on and starting new journeys, we can still count on Seymour to be our home,” she said. “It is the place we grew up, the place we made lifelong friendships and the place that will remain special in our hearts forever.”