It was time to say good-bye to their school years and to step into a new life for Montoursville Area High School seniors Thursday night.
Student leaders summed up what it all means during graduation ceremonies before a packed gymnasium at the school.
Senior class president Dylan Leahy reminded his classmates that all moments in their lives led up to graduation. He said the future can be terrifying, but there comes a time to let go.
RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent
The 2012 graduating class at Montoursville Area High School received yellow roses during commencement ceremonies on Thursday.
"We need to get out of our comfort zone," he said.
Life, he said, can be scary but, at the same time, exhilarating.
Class valedictorian Jillian N. Holmes said what matters in life is "how we live and love."
Don't waste a single moment in life, she said.
Borrowing from Leonardo DaVinci, she said people of accomplishment do not sit back and wait for things to happen.
"Dedication brought us the Class of 2012," she said. "The only question is, where will it take us?"
Class salutatorian Cailyn Marie Kreitz told classmates that many of the things they felt were important throughout their short lives soon will be forgotten.
Now, they are entering a new phase.
"Our lives will be full of firsts," she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "Make the most of every moment."
Bethany Sue Stoner asked her classmates to consider the word honorable. Does it belong to government leaders, soldiers or even one's parents and grandparents?
Honor, she said, comes from dedication and sacrifice.
"Class of 2012, I hope we can all say we are all honorable," she said.
Every decision made affects others in some way.
"At our 50th reunion, let us say we will not do anything different in our lives," she said.
Superintendent Dominic Cavallaro congratulated the class. Comparing life to a book, he said time passes quickly.
"Each day a new page of life is written," he said. "Each chapter becomes a year. You never know how many chapters you'll have."
Cavallaro, who is retiring this summer, looked back on what had been a difficult year for the district, with a devastating flood interrupting the lives of many residents.
"I'm proud of how everyone responded to the setback," he said.
High school Principal Daniel Taormina presented the class of 2012 and school board President Ellen Stoner gave out diplomas.
The senior class sang the school alma mater and the high school concert choir performed "The Star Spangled Banner."
The high school band performed "Pomp and Circumstance" and other musical selections.