As the 25 St. John Neumann Regional Academy High School graduates ended one part of their lives and began another at Monday's commencement ceremony in the Community Arts Center, they were told how several scenes will make up each individual's story.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was the Rev. Thomas E. Roach, rector of the Jesuit community at the University of Scranton, who shared scenes from his life in order to help students going forward with theirs.
"God created human beings because God loves a good story," Roach said, quoting an old Jewish saying.
St. John Neumann Regional Academy High School graduates throw their caps in the air in the middle of West Fourth Street after their graduation ceremony Monday night at the Community Arts Center.
While he was visiting high schools in Eastern Africa, Roach said he found himself staring, unknowingly at first, at Mount Kilimajaro.
"I asked myself, 'How did I get here?' And I asked myself another question, 'What did I do to deserve this?' " he said.
Roach explained that there wasn't one thing he had done to find himself staring at the mountain but wants students to remember to admire the scenery throughout life.
"I encourage you to take a look at the world around you," he said. "Take a walk in the newly fallen snow. Look up at the stars."
Roach's next story came from when he taught English in Poland. He called it a "challenge" as there were no textbooks or syllabi but he found a creative way of having the final exam.
The students were split into groups of four and given the task of creating a news cast, complete with sports and weather.
"The results were amazing," Roach said. "I've never been more entertained by a final exam."
But the most impressive presentation, according to Roach, was a group that did theirs from 50 years into the future.
"It confirmed my belief that young people can do almost anything if they put their minds to it," he said.
He urged the students to "give into your sense of adventure," no matter if the journey is successful or not.
"If you stumble and fall, just get up and carry on or try something new," Roach said.
The final scene he described was the hill of crosses in Lithuania. He explained that the people put up crosses there. Although they were taken down by authorities, the people kept putting them back up.
Roach said like those with their crosses that the graduates must be loyal. He hoped the lessons he learned through experiences would help the students on their own journeys.
"I've told you some of my story ... now it is time for you to get on to your own story," he said.
"We all started this journey as children," said John Mattiace, salutatorian.
Gregory Kist, valedictorian, explained that the journey has come to the point now where there is uncertainty.
"We are at an uncertain time of our lives," he said. "Not really sure what's around the corner."
The ceremony ended as Bishop Joseph C. Bambera told them to believe in themselves, respect others and to not forget their faith.
"Live your faith ... don't leave it at the doors of this academy," he said.