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Graduation seems so long in coming, but when it comes, it comes like a fast train. Bronson High School Salutatorian Christine Schroeder alluded to the slow suddenness of it all when she admitted, laughing, that she had just finished writing her speech that morning.
Schroeder's casually polished address, packed with inside jokes and playful pokes at students, faculty and administrators, took the nervous edge off the charged assembly, shoehorned into a steaming BHS cafetorium. “Competitive, intelligent, confident,” was how she described her peers, noting that, since school spirit was the deciding factor in the quality of a class, “clearly we are the best.”
Valedictorian Sarah Parkin struck a different note, recalling her earliest school days as “a dusty reel of film shot in black and white.” As time passes and experiences accrue, the film takes on color and texture.
“High school is the most complex composition of our lives,” she said.
Finally, she said, “here we are, marveling at this unforgettable soundtrack, accompanying our film, now in glorious color.”
Between speakers, senior orchestra members returned to the pit for one last serenade, playing “Lindbergh Variations” by composer Robert Sheldon along with the underclassmen and beloved band director Stacy Gindlesperger. Many wept as they left the orchestra and returned to their seats.
Kim Nemeth presented the senior legacy, a dedicated social area on campus to be called Eagle Plaza where students could congregate.
Finally it was time for the presentation of the candidates, and pronouncer Adam Booth did a marvelous job, speaking every name clearly and correctly. Seniors looked nervous, expectant, and finally relieved as they crossed the stage and received their prize, in a blue leather folder.
In a time-honored commencement tradition, senior class sponsor Jan Nobles gathered her charges one last time for a rowdy singalong of the Bronson Alma Mater. Lacking only beer steins, the group swayed and bellowed its way through the old tune, as the last shreds of nervous energy evaporated. The new grads, satisfied, paced slowly out into the evening sunshine, to be welcomed into the world.