Superintendent Patrick Adkins of the Port Clinton School District praised the Graduating Class of 2022 on Sunday afternoon at True Lay Stadium in Port Clinton as the most memorable during his quarter century at Port Clinton.
Like the Glenn Frey song, Supt. Adkins explained that Port Clinton, and his students, make him feel at home, providing that “Peaceful Easy Feeling.”
Here are Supt. Adkins’ words:
“Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, guests and students, welcome to the commencement of the Class of 2022. As I begin my brief remarks I would like to recognize our Board of Education members here today. Without their support many of the accomplishments of this incredible class would not be possible. Board President Beth Benko, Vice President Michele Mueller, and Board Members, David Belden, Paul Shaw and Gary Coon.
I would also like to take a moment to recognize our retiring staff members. Congratulations to Rod Miller and Eileen Meisler, both who will be retiring at the conclusion of this school year. Thank you for your commitment to our students, our schools and community.
This year we lost a very important person to our school district. Long time board of education member of over 40 years, Barbara Drusbacky passed away after a long battle with cancer. Upon her passing our board of education chose to create a scholarship in her memory.
In doing so, I spent a lot of time thinking about Barb and what she not only meant to me but to our community. It was her love of our schools and our community that led us to include an essay as part of the application process for the scholarship.
The essay question read: “Please explain what the phrase “We Are PC” means to you.” These three simple words are used in our schools and throughout our community. I didn’t get to read the responses but it got me thinking about what the phrase “We Are PC” means to me.
When my family moved here over 25 years ago, I remember someone telling me “If you weren’t born here then you’ll never be from here.”
I’m not so sure being born somewhere is what makes it home. Home is a place you love, a place where the friendships you have created last a lifetime and in the words of the Eagles “Glenn Frey,” it’s a place that gives you a “Peaceful Easy Feeling.”
While I love my first hometown of East Liverpool (and many of my family are here today) my wife, Paula and I have now lived in PC longer than we lived in East Liverpool and Port Clinton is the only home town our girls have ever known.
While I may not have the depth of knowledge that many others have about our second hometown I do have enough to answer the question “What does “We Are PC” mean to me?”
It’s the Jet Express rolling out of the mouth of the Portage River after a very long blustery winter that seems to extend all the way through spring.
It’s knowing summer is coming because you just ran the red light on Perry Street across from City Beach.
It’s having a Mayor who wears shorts all year long and is as crazy about the Redskins as he is the city he represents. (He may be a little crazier about the Buckeyes than either of those).
It’s seeing Pops Kokinda and Harold Brandt sitting in the bleachers an hour before a Friday Night football game to make sure they got a good seat (home or away).
It’s sitting in a boat or on a lawn on Perry Street watching fireworks over Derby Pond on the Fourth of July.
It’s a perch sandwich at Jolly Rogers — or the case of my family, a burrito el grande at Casa Les Palmes.
It’s knowing why Bataan School is named Bataan School.
It’s Jefferson, Portage, Catawba, LaCarne and the old middle school.
It’s a supportive community that has provided our kids with the best facilities in the state.
It’s acknowledging legends like Earl Warnke and Joe Lukac.
It’s recognizing a new legacy like that of Beau Carmon.
I’ve written these three words thousands of times, each time being a point of pride. I’ve written them in bad times, challenging times, but mostly in good times. One of the most talented classes in PCHS history sits before us today and it’s with great pride that I offer to you just a few of my “We Are PC” reflections specific to this incredible class.
It’s the band marching down Sixth Street to True Lay Stadium on a beautiful crisp fall evening.
It’s taking pride in knowing every word of our Alma Mater and singing it arm in arm with close friends after each football game. Sometimes with smiles on our faces and others with tears in our eyes.
It’s the class that in 8th grade saw a tour company try to steal a DC trip and a community that wouldn’t let it happen.
It’s a girls swim team that won back to back-to-back-to-back Sandusky Bay Conference Championships.
It’a girls soccer team that posted the best record in school history.
It’s a boy’s basketball and girls softball teams who were sectional champs earning the softball girls the nickname the “upset kids.”
It’s being recognized as a Best Community for music education four years in a row.
It’s people like DeNasia Jackson, who even at 18 years of age can change your day with a hug.
It’s Ashton Fisher, Nathan Nellet and William Zimmerman who all completed Eagle Scout Projects this year. Ashton was also a National Merit Scholarship finalist.
And It’s riding with your Los Chicos group to get a Speedy Freeze from Speedway.
It’s being tough like Marcella Brenner and Kat Fillmore who both had to battle back from ACL tears to have great senior seasons.
It’s Madison Palmer who works hard every day to set a great example for her daughter, Taytum.
It’s a final four Redskin Football team that electrified this community as SBC, District and Regional Champions.
It’s Garrett Cornell, Josh Hurst, Drew Hanson, Colton Yarbrough, Tyler Webb, Hunter Shell, Gabbi Porter, Kat Fillmore and Logan Brown, all who will be competing in collegiate athletics.
It’s one of the best senior classes to ever walk the halls of Port Clinton High School!
Whether you were born here or not you are PC Redskins and you will Forever be PC Redskins. One of my favorite quotes about what it means to be a Port Clinton Redskin comes from Josh Hurst, who after a playoff football victory said this: “In a small town, everybody can put a name to a face. It’s about the name on your back and the town on your chest, and making all of them proud.”
I certainly think Mrs. Drusbacky would be proud of this class just like all of us are today. As I said in the beginning, I didn’t get to read the essays. But I did actually get to peek at one and her answer went like this:
“We are PC” now represents not only my alma mater, but the hometown that played such a big role in making me who I am. I am grateful to have been a part of a wonderful school district that has taught me so many life lessons throughout my time here. The next time you hear someone yell “We are PC,” I challenge you to think of what you believe to be the meaning behind the phrase and try to live that way.
No matter where your lives take you, I hope you will always think of this as home. You are a special group and have provided us with too many memories to include in a seven minute speech. I’ve been blessed to be superintendent of this incredible school district for 19 years and next year will be the first time I won’t have a child in school (unless I can talk Mrs. Adkins into just one more). But I know this. When I say those three little words “We are PC” I will surely get a Peaceful Easy Feeling.
I hope wherever you land and you find yourself missing a little bit of home, you pause and simply say “We Are PC” and I promise you, you will be home. We love you guys and wish you the best. God Bless each of you.”