To the white and blue, they’ll ‘forever be true’

By on June 13, 2018

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The 276 members of the graduating class of Cocalico High School (CHS) are excited and prepared to embrace their future, thanks to their time at CHS.

The speakers at the commencement ceremony, held at 7 p.m. on June 8, spoke words of encouragement and challenge to their fellow classmates and family members who were packed into the auditorium of Calvary Church in Manheim.

First, CHS Principal Christopher Irvine stood to welcome the attendees to the commencement ceremony. He told the class of 2018 how proud he was of them and recognized students who are going on from high school to serve in the military, asking them to stand.

The Choralaires, conducted by Kristin Diehl, sang the National Anthem.

Then, Valedictorian Thomas Denlinger took the stage, and reminded his listeners of the value of being prepared and equipped as they close this chapter of their lives and prepare to begin a new one.

“Cocalico has used tools to sharpen us,” he said, reminding his classmates that their families and friends have also played important roles in preparing them for life after high school. “This class is well-prepared,” he said, “and we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.”

Salutatorian Katharine Carrasco shared about the importance of persevering and “doing it anyway” in the face of opposition and failure, saying, “We will try but fail — it’s impossible not to.” She quoted a poem by Mother Theresa, entitled “Do It Anyway” and shared about its significance in her life.

“There is no linear path to success,” she said. “But we are a force to be reckoned with, we’re a new wave of bright young minds… Be a light that shines to strengthen others.”

Senior class president, G. Daniel Main, told his classmates to “go the distance.”

“Find a passion,” he said, referencing how music has been a deep passion of his for years. “We’re never faced with more than we can handle… You belong in the world that you can best serve.”

“The world can be full of unique opportunities,” said senior speaker Sophia Benson, reminding her classmates to “rise to the challenge” and embrace it. “The future is waiting for us,” she said.

Senior speaker Tania Turner asked her classmates, “who are you?” Turner shared about her struggles with migraines throughout high school and her determination to preserve through that hardship.

“Tonight is a moment in history — our moment,” she said. “We have a clean slate, starting tomorrow.” Turner challenged her fellow classmates to determine who they are, and who they want to become.

Finally, senior speaker Jamie Zamrin took the stage to reiterate the importance of “mind over matter.”

“Our minds are more capable than we give them credit for,” Zamrin shared, and recounted a track meet during which she bested two intimidating competitors to win the race. She attributed this victory to the strength of will-power and her mental state, over that of physical capabilities.

“Set a goal,” she encouraged her classmates. “And practice will-power.”

Principal Irvine recommended the class for their diplomas, and then the Cocalico class of 2018 eagerly received them, shaking hands with Irvine as their names were called.

Superintendent Dr. Ella Musser presented the declaration of graduation and students were instructed to turn their tassels as a symbol of their new status as high school graduates.

Graduates completed the celebratory evening by tossing their graduation caps into the air, as family members wiped away tears of pride. The audience sang along with the choralaires as Diehl conducted the Alma Mater.

Principal Irvine’s own pride and love for the graduating seniors was on full display when he took the stage and surveyed the glowing faces, beaming up at him.

“Wherever your futures lead, I’ll be watching,” Irvine said, in a voice tight with emotion. “I’m so proud.”

Aubree Fahringer is a staff writer for the Ephrata Review. She welcomes questions and comments at

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