A BEAutiful celebration

‘It’s our time to make a difference in the world’

WINGATE — When 143 smiling students flipped their tassels on Saturday, June 2nd, to become newly minted Bald Eagle High School graduates, it was the culmination of two days of whirlwind activities.

Friday morning started out with the traditional Senior Breakfast at the high school, where the 2018 BEA high school yearbook was dedicated to teacher Ron Hoover, who is retiring this year after 35 years of service.

Friday evening brought Baccalaureate services, with Pastor Doug Mellott as the guest speaker. Baccalaureate was followed by the Senior Awards Program, where community organizations, BEA alumni, local families, and school officials presented 192 awards to celebrate and recognize deserving seniors.

On Saturday morning, friends and family of the Class of 2018 gathered on Alumni Field to honor the 2018 graduating class. Although the sky was grey with clouds throughout the ceremony, not a raindrop fell on the happy crowd. And there was a refreshing breeze, to chase away the heat.

Members of the BEA Class of 1968 were also on hand for the celebration, as part of their 50th year class reunion activities, with 1968 Class President Larry Wiser addressing the current graduates during ceremonies.

BEA senior Jared Gettig offered both the invocation and the benediction.

Traditional musical selections were provided by the Bald Eagle Area Brass Ensemble, and the Bald Eagle Area Concert Choir performed “The Irish Blessing” acapella.

Superintendent Jeff Miles thanked the Class of 2018 for their commitment and dedication, for the respect they demonstrated every day, and for the compassion and empathy they showed toward their fellow classmates.

Miles said that members of the Class of 2018 were positive role models by willingly donating time, volunteering for Special Olympics, and helping others in many other ways – every day.

“Our seniors get it — when someone is on the floor, you pick them up — you give them support,” Miles said, adding, “Outsiders continually remind us of the positive role models sitting before us.”

Miles also recognized the seniors, by name, who committed to enlist in the United States Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy to serve our country.

Class of 2018 Valedictorian, Michael Bailey, reminded his classmates how lucky they were to have had a good education, guided by great teachers and families. He stated that only 36 percent of the world’s population, 25 years or older in 2010, have had the opportunity to achieve a high school diploma.

Bailey challenged his classmates to never forget the other sixty-four percent of the population who don’t get to finish high school, and to “fight for them.”

“Whether you are going to college, joining the military, or going into the work force, each and every one of us has the duty to live up to what we have been given,” Baily said. “It’s our time in life to stand up for those less fortunate than us.”

“We have an amazing opportunity to do great things with our lives. We can’t waste that,” Baily said. “It’s now our time to make a difference in this world.”

Senior Class President, Morgan Chambers, who also was the 2018 Class Salutatorian, addressed her classmates, listing many of the individual and collective accomplishments of the Class of 2018, which included raising over $16,000 to help families in need through fundraisers and other charitable events.

Chambers urged her classmates to always try to be kind, saying, “No matter what society pushes you to do, stay true to the values that Bald Eagle has implanted in us.”

“I know it sounds cliche, but you all truly do have the ability to change someone’s life,” Chambers said.

After receiving their diplomas from the BEA Board of Education, students celebrated by tossing their hats – on the count of 1-2-3 – into the air. Confetti and a few beach balls followed.

It was a wonderful ending to a BEAutiful celebration.