SHERIDAN — Though Big Horn High School’s Class of 2018 is a relatively small group — only 30 students — it contains a range of personalities, and graduation speakers Sunday encouraged the graduates to find, and pursue, a path forward that best suits them as individuals.
In an interview with The Sheridan Press last week, Caroline Haile, who finished a close third in the class Valedictorian race, said her class was not easy to categorize.
“We’re sort of disparate. Some of us are athletic, some are academic, some artistic,” Haile said. “We’re really just individuals who happen to be graduating at the same time.”
Haile will attend Michigan State University in the fall and plans to study journalism.
Class salutatorian Jill Mayer, who will attend Indiana University in the fall and plans to study human biology, urged her classmates to take advantage of every opportunity that interests them in the coming years.
“Because we don’t quite know what is ahead, I encourage you to keep your options open and take advantage of every opportunity the world will give you,” Mayer said. “…But the most important thing I encourage you to be is yourself.”
Class valedictorian Nathaniel McAdoo, who will attend the University of Arizona-Tucson in the fall, told his classmates they would have to work hard on whatever path they choose, so they should choose a course that brings them satisfaction.
“Joy comes from your perception of the activity, not the activity itself,” McAdoo said. “…It’s by your choice that you will find content or discontent with what you are doing.”
Patrick O’Harra, an English teacher at BHHS, delivered the class commencement address and chose to use punctuation as his driving metaphor. He told students to think of their graduation not as the end of the sentence, but as the end of a clause on which the rest of the sentence will build. Which punctuation students choose to introduce that next clause would be up to them.
“Complex punctuation is a choice; it is a deliberate, nuanced expression of the author,” O’Harra said.
O’Harra had some suggestions, however.
“In my hope it’s the dash — the ‘holy crap’ dash — that’s going to serve as the metaphor for today’s graduation,” O’Harra said. “The dash is the punctuation that comes at the end of a sentence when what follows is so epic and unbelievable that the dash says ‘Look out, you’re never going to believe this’…The dash indicates that something is coming, and what comes before is interesting but what comes after is absolutely amazing… My hope for you, Class of 2018, is that you find the perfect punctuation for your story.”