STEUBENVILLE - The valedictorian for the 2012 class at Indian Creek High School urged her classmates Friday night to choose wisely in their future lives.
Aubrie Gaydosh also told the 166 graduating seniors to follow their dreams and to make a difference.
"Choose to leave the world better than you found it," Gaydosh urged during commencement exercises held at the Finnegan Field House at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
NEW GRADUATES — Indian Creek Local High School graduates said good-bye to their school and welcomed their future Friday night during commencement exercises at Finnegan Field House at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Enjoying a talk before they processed into the ceremonies were, from left, Tabatha Taylor, Megan Hukill, Erika Kirkpatrick and Alisha Keeton.
"We have each had our own journey which has led us here today. Our journeys may have been unique but they all have involved hard work and determination. There have been many who have helped us along the way and for that we are thankful,"said Gaydosh.
"If you think about it, we have been making choices since we were young. Some are small choices that affect our daily lives, and some are big choices that will affect which path we take in life. When we were younger these choices seemed so simple. Milk or juice? Chocolate or vanilla? Our parents were always there to make the important decisions for us. As the years have passed and we have matured our parents began to let go and let us make our own choices," remarked Gaydosh.
"All of our experiences and the choices we have made throughout the past four years have brought us to today, anxiously waiting to graduate. This year, we all have had to make some big choices that affect what we will do after we leave the halls of Indian Creek High School. Some of us will be going off to college in the fall to pursue various degrees, some will be enlisting in the armed forces, and some will immediately begin their career. I strongly believe that each and every one of us can accomplish our goals in life if we use the knowledge we have gained throughout our 12 years of school, if we work hard and make wise choices," she noted.
"We will end up making poor choices throughout our lives but what really matters is having the wisdom to learn from our mistakes and knowing how to move forward, making better choices. Remember that life is not stagnant. It is never too late," concluded Gaydosh.
The graduates and parents also heard from the class salutatorian Samuel Orr who reminded them of other class salutatorians including Michelle Obama, Carrie Underwood, Albert Einstein and John F. Kennedy.
"All were high school salutatorians. All were second highest rank. All earned the honor to give this, the opening speech at graduation," declared Orr.
"We need to be confident in all that we endeavor and realize that we will make mistakes and that we will learn from them. I also believe it's important to know that there will always be someone there for us. Whether it's our family, friends, or our faith, know that we're never alone," Orr said.
"I also believe hard work pays off. We need to believe in ourselves and know that we are capable of accomplishing any task ourselves without expecting others to do it for us," Orr commented.
The welcoming address was given by Derek DeMattio and class reflections were provided by Hannah Eckley.