‘Thriving amid change’ prepares Class of 2016 for future success
For almost 20 years, students at Wiesbaden High School have started the next phase of their lives in the Wiesbaden Kurhaus, and recently 117 more of them took the next step of their journeys.
The students’ four years of hard work culminated in a commencement ceremony June 12, with family, friends and other guests in attendance.
“We are proud of each and every one of you,” said Greg Hatch, WHS principal. “As you turn the page (on your time here), I urge you to remember the teachers who supported you … your parents, and the friendships you’ve made.”
Class of 2016 Salutatorian Claire Torza, has attended three high schools over the last four years, and has only been a student at WHS this year. During her speech, she said as a military dependent her least favorite question became “Where are you from?” Her time at WHS helped change that.
“Thank you Wiesbaden, for making me feel at home,” she said.
For a community whose students are almost entirely transient, “home” can become a relative term, according to the class’s valedictorian, Sophie Parker.In fact, only four of the Class of 2016 students have been a part of it since kindergarten.
“Our community is not based on geography,” Parker said, “but on our parents’ decision to serve their country.”
The guest speaker at the event, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Commander Col. Todd J. Fish, began by congratulating the students and emphasizing the various courses their lives will take from here.
“It’s exciting to think about the many paths ahead of you,” Fish said. “Some of you will be going to college, some may join the workforce immediately, while others may choose to immediately join one of our fine military services. I recommend the Army, personally.”
Fish emphasized that the transitions the students have faced, and the challenges they’ve encountered, are assets the students will take with them into whatever direction they choose to follow.
“I have one last piece of advice for you,” he continued. “Stay the course. You may make mistakes, or stumble, but don’t let that stop you.”
The class valedictorian echoed remarks by Fish, saying their status as the children of military members has equipped them in ways their civilian counterparts could only wish for.
“You’ve experienced nothing but change in your lives,” Parker said. “You’re uniquely qualified to handle whatever life throws at you. Class of 2016, we are ready to face anything.”