Congratulations and best wishes to Solanco Class of 2017!

| June 7, 2017

Graduation - capWEB


On an evening filled with cheers, tears, pride and deep reflection, 280 seniors in the Solanco Class of 2017 received their diplomas on the Solanco football field. Congratulations, and best wishes to those students as attend college, join the work force, travel in the U.S. or overseas, or become members of the United States Armed Forces!



Graduation - Steph, Duvall, BlissWEBLeft to right, Solanco High School Principal Stephanie Lininger, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael Duvall (Solanco Class of 1980), and Solanco Superintendent Dr. Brian Bliss.

Distinguished Speaker Michael Duvall (former fighter jet pilot) emphasized to graduates the importance family, friends, mentors, and especially the Solanco community, which lifted his spirits during a very difficult time in Operation Desert Storm. “Our F-15E squadron flew night combat sorties.” Only a several days into Operation Desert Storm, Duvall had four friends who had been killed or captured. “We now had empty seats at the chow hall and empty bunks in our tents. My squadron was very discouraged. In the next few days I received a care package, one that I’ve kept until this day. It was letters from Providence Elementary students. What an encouragement – this community, from thousands of miles away, gave me a huge morale boost when I badly needed it.” Duvall called on graduates to “sustain and spread the best of this community - whether it’s in southern Lancaster County or in whatever corner of the globe you decide to call home.”

Graduation - val and salClass valedictorian Daniel Siegrist (left) and class salutatorian Marissa Witmer.

Do not be afraid to make decisions that others may not understand in the moment,” class valedictorian Daniel Siegrist told his classmates. “In February of this year, I decided to take a gap year before heading to college to do mission work and aid with the refugee crisis in Europe. While this may seem to be unrelated to the specific degree program I will be pursuing the following year, I know the worldview I gain and the ability to help others less fortunate that I am will prove to be more valuable than anything a university can offer me at this time in my life.”

Class valedictorian Marissa Witmer told graduates that the only path in their lives is behind them; there is no path before them. The lessons, friendships and memories from high school will propel them forward. “Whatever
we chose to strive for when we wake up tomorrow, we do so not only with fresh perspectives, but also with fond memories and maybe a little wisdom from the past four years’ experiences. We will use the momentum
that we have gained from our four years in high school to blaze our own trails, and to make our own paths.”

Principal Stephanie Lininger said students in the Class of 2017 have developed great leadership skills, and she urged them to demonstrate leadership beyond high school. “With leadership comes great responsibility for others. Always have the intention to do what is best and what is right, not what is easiest. With leadership comes great emotion. You will lead and make decisions that will elate some folks and cause upset and anger in others. Be sure
to stay true to yourself and know that you acted with the best intentions.
And lastly, with leadership comes an awareness to be grateful for all that others have done and will do for you in the future. All great leaders
know they are only as good as the people around them.”

Superintendent Dr. Brian Bliss reminded graduates of the important support they have received  as they “worked hard, faced challenges, made mistakes, were victorious and grew up along the way. Teachers, principals, support staff – everyone played a key role in developing the person you are today. Most importantly, family and friends shaped and molded you. In fact, when you look at the audience you see a large crowd – not just your family supported you, the entire Solanco community did.”

Category: Community Happenings, Featured Stories, High School News

About the Author ()

Keith Kaufman is the Director of Community Relations for Solanco School District. 786-5617.

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