Dallastown Area High School's class of 2013 decided to wax nostalgic about cartoon fish during their final send-off on Wednesday.
Under pristine conditions, the 466 seniors gathered on the stadium grass as class speakers passed along their thoughts about "Finding Nemo," the 2003 Pixar movie about a fish father looking for his son.
The movie included Dallastown's class motto this year, "Just keep swimming."
"Go with the flow," said Megan Noll, recalling the advice of laid back turtles who help the protagonist dad. "New scary experiences can make us tense and nervous ... but we have to just take the plunge."
"There were times when we probably felt like Nemo - stuck and out of place," said Alexandra Plowman. That time has passed, she said. "Now we have made it to a great milestone in our lives."
The seniors left behind a legacy, said principal Alan Fauth, who is retiring this year. Fauth noted the litany of accomplishments, such as 80 percent of seniors going on to post-secondary education, another 5 percent to the military and another 8 percent to an apprenticeship or career.
There were seniors who won local and regional theater, sports, and music competitions. Others earned national recognition as scientists. And as a group, the seniors earned more than $3 million in scholarships.
Those days of working as a group are over, though. After Wednesday night, the graduates "went from a collective noun to a group of individuals" said class president Michael Doran.
Christina Haritos, another speaker, found herself in a familiar position for graduation speakers, as she held on to what was and looked tentatively yet excitedly at what was to come.
"There are many times when I wanted to leave this small town behind us forever," Haritos said. "Now we find ourselves thrown in the middle of the ocean."
The diploma, she added, isn't an end point.
"It is a promise of what lies ahead," Haritos said.
Dallastown Area High School Name Class of 2013
Number of graduates:
Graduation ceremony held:
June 5 at the stadium
Class president: Michael Doran
Superintendent Ronald Dyer; Principal Alan Fauth; Board President Kenneth Potter; Students Daniel Friedland, Megan Noll, Alexandra Plowman and Christina Haritos