Graduates gather for a group photo before Friday’s commencement ceremony at Eastern York High School.
Graduates gather for a group photo before Friday's commencement ceremony at Eastern York High School. (Wendy Garman photo)

On a rainy night, in a packed gymnasium, 180 Eastern York students received their diplomas.

Eastern York Principal Timothy Mitzel opened the ceremony by reminding those in attendance that everything they need to know they learned in kindergarten. "Play fair. Don't hit. Put things back where you got them. Clean up your own mess. Wash your hands before you eat live a balanced life."

"Your actions determine your legacy," said Mitzel. "In the absence of everything, it all comes down to one thing. Choice. You choose where you go from here."

Salutatorian Alexander Searer said, "What we do after this is yet to be determined."

Searer encouraged his classmates to live a life of meaning. "Try to live like Abraham Lincoln, who spent his life plucking thistles and planting flowers."

Mark Lederer, senior class president, reminded his classmates that while they work hard to achieve their full potential they cannot forget those around them.

Quoting President Barack Obama, Lederer said, "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

Valedictorian Cassidy Layman said, "Remember the little things because that is what matters the most." Layman said she was proud of her classmates, her school and her community.


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Providing advice that she wished she knew 33 years ago at her high school graduation, superintendent Darla Pianowski said, "Life is too hard to be lived alone. As you grow you will become more like your parents. Spend more time listening. Give back to your community. Seek balance. Build relationships. Trust your instincts. Find your passion and be true to your integrity."

Eastern York School District Class of 2013

Number of graduates: 180

Graduation ceremony held: June 7 in the gymnasium

Student speakers: Alexander Searer, Cassidy Layman, Maggie Fenning, Mark Lederer

Other speaker: Principal Timothy Mitzel, Superintendent Darla Pianowski, and board representative Richard Zepp.