ATLANTA - Atlanta seniors excitedly threw their graduation caps in the air after Superintendent Donald Haskin Jr. officially declared 26 successful students, 2012 Atlanta Community Schools graduates.
Surprise guest speaker Tom Moran, president of Moran Iron Works, Inc. in Onaway, addressed the graduating class about his high school memories and experiences that had an impact on his life, including troubles with reading and writing during his high school career.
"From a very early age I knew I was never going to be a scholar, but I quickly mastered shop class," Moran said. "Use strengths, and don't be brought down by weaknesses. Shortcomings fade away."
Salutatorian Tiffany Haren also spoke during the ceremony in a triumphant tone that mirrored Moran's speech.
"We've been through a lot of changes, teacher changes, superintendents and principals ... but we learned to adapt and to be flexible. Graduating is a giant leap, but we'll do just fine. We're a strong group, mentally and physically," Haren said.
Valedictorian Joshua Cumper's speech was light-hearted, but was full of memories, and advice about being humble and learning from mistakes.
"Invest in a good pair of sunglasses because our future is so bright," Cumper said.
The gymnasium filled with family members, friends, staff, and graduates watched a DVD that showcased pictures of each student. The pictures in the presentation covered a lifetime of memories, including when the graduates were newborns to the years leading to the end of high school. Their senior year also was highlighted in the presentation, with pictures from different school events, dances and sporting events.
Haskin made the presentation of seniors and awarded the diplomas and Haren led the students in turning of the tassels, the last step of the ceremony that the 26 graduates participated in at the home of the Huskies.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687.