During last Saturday’s Big Walnut High School graduation ceremony, school board Vice President Andy Wecker, father of Class of 2016 vice president Madelyn Wecker, advised the graduates to be authentic, be a friend, and to seek respect, instead of attention, because respect lasts longer.
“Avoid spending money on stuff,” Wecker said. “Avoid debt and have a healthy and fearful respect for its use as a tool, and how it binds the past, present and future in ways, good and bad. If you’re going into debt for something that won’t appreciate or earn income beyond the principal and interest, or at least last longer than the term of the loan, you should probably just make do, or better still, do without.”
Wecker advised members of the Class of 2016 not to think about what they want in terms of things or status; they should think about who they respect and admire, and pattern themselves after his or her example.
“Find someone older who can be a mentor to you, to whom you are accountable,” Wecker said. “You will benefit from the experience and perspective of that older person; and that older person will benefit from your energy and developing point of view. At the same time, find someone younger, whom you can mentor and hold to account, so that you can give and receive in a different way.”
Wecker also noted that the graduates would experience days in which life will take more than it gives.
“But not today,” Wecker added. “Today is a day to find anyone who has given of themselves for your sake. Shake his or her hand, or better still, wrap your arms around that person in a big hug, and with your biggest smile, say ‘thanks.’”
Close to one-third of the graduating class completed their high school careers with academic honors. The 211 graduating seniors of the Class of 2016 includes 35 summa cum laude graduates with a grade-point average of 4.0 or higher. There are another 19 magna cum laude graduates and 19 cum laude graduates.
The Class of 2016 also contains 61 members of the local chapter of the National Honor Society, and 50 graduates earned honors diplomas.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093