COLUMBUS — The students dressed in blue and white are now ready to take a step into the “real world.”
Graduates from the Class of 2016 were told they probably aren’t prepared for what awaits them outside the halls of Lakeview High School.
The hard work and commitment the graduates demonstrated over the course of their high school careers must continue to succeed in the world Nora Kmiecik described to the students during Sunday's commencement.
Kmiecik, a softball coach and social studies teacher at Lakeview, spoke to the 56 graduates during the ceremony at the school.
“You children are about to enter the real world. Rather than conform yourselves to it, I urge you to take a little piece of Lakeview with you always,” she said.
Kmiecik said the world is paved with broken dreams and run by people who are cynical and exploitative and believe happiness comes from individual success. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Family is what should come first, something students were taught at Lakeview by creating a cohesive unit from a diverse student body.
She told the class to earn what they get.
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“The world will tell you that you are owed comfort just for existing. You should have to work hard or fight for what you believe in," Kmiecik said. "You should just get it. If you aren’t getting it, it is somebody’s fault. Don’t be mistaken. You’re a human being made in the image of God and you deserve love and respect. But you do not deserve wealth or comfort or your ideal job just for breathing."
Lakeview senior Megan Coan said graduation day is emotional.
“It is because it is the time now that I have to go out and be on my own. It’s a happy emotion, it’s not sad. I’m ready,” she said.
Fellow graduate Trey Shanks said he is looking forward to the next step in his life, going to college to study criminal justice.
“It’s one of those things where you’re just moving on in life,” he said.
During his welcome speech, senior Trent Roth said the day was a time to remember and look forward.
“High school has been an incredible journey and today is in celebration of all the unforgettable moments. These past four years have involved some of the most memorable and influential times of our lives,” he said.
Class president Austin Maurer encouraged his classmates to take the knowledge, abilities, attitudes and character they have developed over the past four years into the future as they meet new people and make new memories.
Kmiecik said Lakeview is not the real world, but students will do well if they take the lessons and values learned at the school with them. And the world will be better off, too.
“I stand here unapologetic that I and my fellow teachers have not prepared you for the real world. Frankly, I’m very proud of that fact. My failing, however, and my sincere apology to you, is that I’ve not adequately prepared the world for you. Go change it,” she said.