Tuesday night's mild weather was ideal for York Suburban High School's graduation as 188 graduates walked around the football field on the track in their black gowns.
Class president Matthew Gabriel Smith discussed the evening's transit of Venus. A man at the ceremony was selling special glasses to allow people to look at the sun and see the tiny planet making its way across the star's expanse.
Smith said, like the astronomical event, the graduates were the right things together at the right place and the right time. He also compared the eclipse to the graduates.
"You will only see a class as good as ours once in a lifetime," he said.
The quilt: School board member Emily Bates spoke about the quilt that the graduates made when they were in first grade. The quilt was placed in the cafeteria during prom. Bates used the quilt as a metaphor for how the students evolved. She urged the graduates to take a good look at the quilt and themselves from 12 years ago.
Valedictorian Phong Tien Vo is an immigrant from Vietnam who moved here with his parents when he was in sixth grade. He had to learn a new language and a new culture. On top of this he also had to get used to the food and social expectations. He was filled with confusion and fear.
Vo expressed his pride in his native country.
"Always remember your roots and who you are," he said.
He then showed his gratitude for his family in his native language of Vietnamese.
Principal Russell E. Greenholt said that the graduates need to learn "adherence" or "sticking to a plan." He said that the three elements of adherence are focus, competence and passion.
He ended his speech by saying "Make it a great life, or not. The choice is yours."