SMAHS speakers express gratitude, offer encouragement

As part of the St. Marys Area High School Class of 2012 commencement ceremony Friday evening, Salutatorian Emily Dickey and Valedictorian Scott Barber addressed those in attendance, specifically their fellow classmates.Dickey pointed out how many things "are coming to a close as this chapter of our lives is finished. Here we are on a border of a new chapter of our lives and of our future.""It's a new beginning for all of us. You will have the opportunity to make new friends, have new experiences and be whoever you want. If you don't like who you are, change it, you're going to have the freedom to make all your own decisions and live your life how you want to," Dickey said.She thanked their teachers for sharing their time, talent and knowledge with them and said they "set the bar high and challenged us to live up to it."Dickey also recognized the graduates, parents and family members whom she said supported them in more ways than it's possible for them to count, whether it was helping them on their journey by dragging them out of bed in the morning, helping with homework, listening to their complaints, attending their concerts, competitions and sporting events and worrying about their daily dramas, all the while giving them space for them to work their problems out for themselves."The best way for us to show our gratitude is not by merely saying 'thanks,'" she said, adding that during her time as a participant in the school's music program, Mr. Gankosky, band director, taught her something very important, "it's about becoming a better person."