ST. MARYS – As the Elk County Catholic High School Class of 2012 bid farewell to their high school careers on Sunday afternoon, student speakers Valedictorian Jacob Herbstritt and Salutatorian Jena Struble recollected a host of memories shared by the graduates.
Herbstritt's address centered around the need to be prepared, a motto he learned as a Boy Scout throughout his youth. Looking back, he questioned if the graduates' time at ECC has prepared them for what lies ahead.
"Whether or not we fully realize it yet, I believe that we have attended one of the best schools in the state, if not the entire country. Here at ECC, we have been blessed academically, spiritually and athletically," Herbstritt said. "In my time in high school, I have met students from many other school systems and walks of life and I am convinced that other schools do not have what we have. Here at ECC, our teachers have not only been preparing us academically, but to succeed in life. Yes, I am sure that we have been properly prepared."
In addition to thanking the ECC faculty and staff who "gave us more of yourself than you had to and many times more than we deserved," Herbstritt also thanked his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters for their support throughout his life, stating he could always count of them.
While contemplating writing his graduation speech, Herbstritt said he thought, "Who am I to give a speech to my classmates and all of the good people in attendance here today? My father continually reminds me that I don't really know anything yet, but nonetheless, here I am."
His friends also advised him not to make his speech original and not too long or too short.
Herbstritt said that while reflecting on the past four years, he planned to speak about the good times and the bad, but could not remember very many bad memories expect for dreading studying or occasionally doing poorly on a test. Some of the memories he mentioned were his fellow classmates breaking volleyball, softball and swimming records, their senior retreat, the hackey sack club and mosh pits at dances.
"It's hard to believe that you want so badly for something to be over and then when it happens, you realize how much we will miss it," Herbstritt said. "I know that in the next couple of weeks we will be remembering all of the good times, but we must not forget that the most exciting time of our lives is about to begin."
Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, May 30, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.