“The noise is back and it’s truly a welcomed sound as we can see your smiling faces!” Superintendent Patrick Adkins told the graduating Class of 2021 at Port Clinton High Schools’ 137th annual commencement on Saturday. “While many of our functions have been different, we were still able to give you a prom, senior picnic and many of the other activities that you’ve come to expect from your senior year.
“Through the craziest time many of us have ever lived through you never wavered in your support, understanding, tolerance, and acceptance. You got us through our toughest times. And while things may have been different, this class sticks out as one of our finest with the ability to persevere, and overcome.”
Some of their outstanding accomplishments, said Adkins, include: Alaina Dackermann setting a personal goal to qualify for state diving every year of high school, and doing it!
The numerous Eagle Scouts, including: Elliot Auxter, Garrett Hirt, Aiden Carpenter and Jayce Kennedy. Only 5% of scouts earn this recognition.
This class has been part of numerous SBC Championships including: 2017-18 Girls Bowling Championship; 2019 Boys Tennis Champions; Both boys and girls tennis brought home SBC Championships; and back-to-back to back girls swimming SBC Champions.
Jamison Mullens owns over 10 school wrestling records and earned Summa Cum Laude honors; and we saw the formation of our first Esports team which competed in the state semifinals.
In addition to these incredible class accomplishments, said Adkins, he also had a few special personal memories of a few of these seniors:
Sydney Moore: You have had a creative mind since you were little. You’ve been writing stories for as long as I have known you. I even remember your directing debut called “The Hanging Tree.”
Bri Rose: I’ve enjoyed coaching and being around since you were a little girl. You’ve battled through a serious knee injury and found ways to compete your senior year. I loved watching you win your final softball game last week against Perkins. I still hate the nose ring though.
Jonah Sydney: We got to know each other when you were in 6th grade. I’m proud of the young man you have become, but know that I can still beat you in a game of horse just like I did everyday at the middle school.
Hannah Cross: I‘ve watched you grow from a quiet young girl who barely said a word to a bright, confident young lady and tennis assassin.
Claire Snyder and Kierstin Sherer: I’m really sorry that you were shut out of the Krispy Kreme senior promotion.
“As we leave you today, I would like to send you off with five very important life lessons that will come in handy as you leave the comfort of your parents home and enter what many like to call the ‘real world,’” said Adkins.
Those five ‘life lessons” were:
Number 1: UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. Understand that the world owes you nothing. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Everyone has problems, and in the words of Hall of Fame football coach, Lou Holtz, “half the people don’t care about your problems and the other half are glad you have them.”
Understand that where your mind goes – you go. Don’t get wrapped up in what you think people think about you. Don’t create fictional stories in your head with the worst possible ending you can imagine. Control your self-talk. It sounds funny, but you do actually control the voice in your head. Self pity keeps you focused on the problem not the solution.
Number 2: GET COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. Challenge yourself. Push yourself, and make yourself uncomfortable. Peg your adrenaline meter as often as you can. When was the last time you were really excited, nervous, and your adrenaline was pegged at an 11 on a scale of 1-10.
For the class of 2021 I think many of you did this a couple weeks ago in Mr. Roth’s American Literature class where you decided to exercise your civil disobedience by writing the words “I prefer not to” in place of a 500-word final exam essay. Get off the couch, and off your butt! Keep adventure as a part of your life! Take risks!
Number 3: BE A GIVER! Be kind. Over the past year our world has seen a lot of “unkind.” Assume everyone is going through something. Life is not meant to be a transaction. Be more about us, less about me, and do great things for others.
Number 4: BE PASSIONATE! Be passionate about life, be passionate about others, be passionate about you, be passionate in your thoughts and your actions. Strive to find “Agape Love,” which is defined as the greatest type of love. It is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love. Be passionate about something, anything . . . life, music, sports. Find what you’re passionate about, and go get it.
Number 5: REMEMBER THAT SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE IS JUST FINE: When you are being passionate, understand that others are just as passionate as you. Just because they have a different point of view, it doesn’t make them wrong. I don’t need to remind you what they say about opinions, just know everyone has one and just because mine is different from yours doesn’t make you right and me wrong.
It seems that a lot of people go either way left or way right and can no longer meet in the middle. The middle is where arguments become conversations, where disagreements become respect, it’s where solutions arise. Some will say you can’t be in the middle and that you need to pick sides. You can pick sides, just know that it doesn’t matter what your sex, race, or your religious belief is, everyone’s opinion matters.
I always like to quote obscure songs in my remarks so . . . In the words of the great poet Cody Jinks, “I’ve known a lot of real good men, grad school or no school, I called them my friend. I’m somewhere in the middle and that’s just fine.”
In closing, thank you.
Thank you for being what held us together this year. You are truly the reason I do what I do. I love you guys and wish you the best. God bless the Class of 2021. Now go out and make us proud! Go Skins!
Adkins also recognized the Board of Education members, Board President Beth Benko, Vice President Michele Mueller and Board Members David Belden, Paul Shaw and Barb Drusbacky.
He also recognized retiring staff members. Eric Zeitzheim, who will be retiring this year. Jack Nitz for wrapping up an incredible career of over 50 years in education, an inspiration for many.
“I remember walking down the hall the first week we were back in school and watching you as you sat behind your shields and in masks,
said Adkins. “The quiet was deafening, I hated it. I recall thinking “we’ve sucked the life out of school.
“I can’t tell you how sad it was to walk the halls that first week and not hear laughter, noise, or human interaction coming from our classrooms. The only noise we could hear was the muffled sound of (Ty Roth and James Lamb) competing for who could be loudest during their lectures or class readings.