LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — Twin Valley South High School held its 55th commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 30, and 77 seniors turned their tassels and became TVS graduates.
Class President Madison Blair welcomed guests and led the crowd in prayer. High School Principal Scott Cottingim introduced esteemed guests in the crowd and recognized staff for their contributions in the graduates’ lives.
There were four valedictorians in the TVS class of 2019 who all had the opportunity to address their peers.
First, William Bowman invoked wisdom from Dr. Seuss and spoke to his fellow graduates about their time spent together.
“It is hard to know whether you should be smiling or crying on days like this, but I think the great Dr. Seuss answered it best when he said, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’ It’s okay to be sad, but just know this is only the beginning of the rest of our lives,” he said.
“The best is yet to come, and we can do anything we set our minds to — except, sorry to break it to you, Kyrie — become a professional baseball player. No matter if you loved or hated the last four years, we can all say we learned some important lessons from our time in high school.
“Some of us learned the importance of good study habits, some of us learned how to be responsible, and some of us learned not to yell certain words during lunch. It was the best of times and yes, occassionally, it was the worst of times. But nevertheless, I want to give all of my peers a huge congratulations, I know it wasn’t always easy.
“Some of you are my best friends, some of you I have known for more than 12 years, and others, not so much, but that’s okay. This isn’t goodbye, it’s see ya later. I wish you all the best of luck. I know you will all do great things, or at least you’ll try to. It’s the thought the counts sometimes.”
Valedictorian Jake Byrne opened his speech by thanking parents, grandparents, families, and staff at Twin Valley Community Local Schools. He then spent some time reflecting on his years at Twin Valley South.
“Most of us have been in this school district since kindergarten, so let’s take it back 13 years ago. Back to the first day of school and the commencement of all our journeys. Parents and grandparents walked us to the bus stops and by that afternoon CVS and Walgreen’s across the county were developing hundreds of pictures of our cute little faces,” he said.
“For the next six years we were blessed with recess, AR reading and reading logs, and racing our best friends through the inflatables for the last week field day. Elementary school as an important stepping stone on the path to our academic careers. I think we can all agree that middle school was an awkward time for the most of us, so for the sake of everyone we can acknowledge that and skip over those three years of rocky roads.
“By this point in our story there are now nine years behind us as we stepped into freshmen orientation. We were unopened textbooks, pencils not yet sharpened, with hearts still raw and unknowing as to what the coming years would hold. The future is more real and honest and pressing in this moment than it has seemed since that first year. Today is the merger of those roads becoming one, those schools — elementary, middle, and high school — coming together.”
Valedictorian Chase Denlinger began his speech by thanking teachers and his family personally, naming contributions to his life and acknowledging their role in his story. He also had some words for his classmates at the end of his speech.
“As we walk out of this door, some of us will never meet again. Most of us have been together for as long as we can remember, so this step of life is new to everybody. I offer the advice to never forget where you came from. Focus on what you have learned and put it to good use. I wish you all nothing but the best,” he said.
“My final thought is a quote from Naval Ravikant, ‘Your goal in life is to find out the people who need you the most, to find out the business that needs you the most, to find the people and the art that needs you the most. There is something out there just for you.’”
The fourth and final valedictorian was Nathan Osborn, who also spent time thanking his family and teachers personally.
“Every day has 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,400 daily opportunities to make a positive impact. So I would like to recognize those who used up their own minutes making a positive impact on me,” he said. “Graduates, tomorrow when we wake up, we will find ourselves on different paths. Some will prepare to go to college and some will start careers, but we will all move forward. I believe I speak for many when I say I am thankful that the beginning chapters of my life were spent with these amazing people. Also, how lucky we are to have this room full of so many to encourage us.
“Those of you that know me well, know that I am a fan of the TV show ‘The Office.’ So I thought it would be fitting to share this quote by Andy Bernard, in the spirit of our final day together. ‘I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ole days before you’ve actually left them.’”
During the ceremony, $921,678 in scholarship money was awarded to graduating seniors by various presenters.
Twin Valley South Band and Choir each performed. An appreciation ceremony was led by the seniors, who presented flowers to their loved ones in thanks for all they have done.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH