High school class of 2013 graduates 37 seniors
Schweinfurt's 37 graduating seniors toss their caps after Dr. Vince Diaz, high school principal, testifies they meet graduation requirements. Schweinfurt High School graduated 37 seniors June 10 in a ceremony at the Mercure Hotel that drew hundreds from the community.

SCHWEINFURT, Germany (June 19, 2013) -- Schweinfurt High School graduated 37 seniors June 10 in a ceremony at the Mercure Hotel that drew hundreds from the community.

Excited students, parents, families, friends and community members packed the auditorium as the class of 2013 seniors received their diplomas, only the second time ever in the Army's nearly 70-year history here.

The night's focus was on the reminiscence of past achievements, challenges and struggles.

"Whether you are heading to college or a job or just taking some time off to enjoy life, these life lessons we have learned here will give us an advantage in whatever situation life presents," explained 2013 valedictorian, Dallas Vermillion, in her valedictorian address.

"As you have matured, your life has been saturated with challenges, successes, mistakes, and often you were blindsided. Life is really like that for all of us," said Dr. Vince Diaz, the high school principal. "As you sit there tonight, this is your new day. Relish it, remember it and celebrate it."

Nine students graduated with a grade point average of 3.33 or higher, while 19 of the 37 graduating seniors are currently slotted to begin college next term.

"Whether it has been relocating to other schools many times due to a parent's change of station, having a parent or two deploy across the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism, or having parents work long hours supporting our military community, you have met the challenges," said Franconia Military Community commander, Col. Kelly J. Lawler, in opening remarks.

Aimee Cutcher, the school's 2013 salutatorian, spoke at the ceremony about a girl who discovers a butterfly struggling to escape from its cocoon. Or, rather, this was nature's way of making its wings stronger, she said.

"Four years ago, we started to break away from our cocoons. We've experienced struggles regarding issues from our social lives to academics," said Cutcher.

The 2012-2013 school year marks only the second year of the school's existence. The idea for the high school was hatched as early as 2009, according to school liaison officer Beth Potter, who, with then garrison commander Lt. Col. Everett Spain, set the plan in motion. Before the 2011-2012 school year, which included several of the night's graduating seniors, high school students had been commuting to Bamberg High School. But in June 0f 2011, the Department of Defense Education Activity -- the agency managing all schools for U.S. military children -- announced the establishment of a high school in the Schweinfurt community.

While one thread weaving its way through the ceremony was on past experiences, particular focus was on those in the past 13 years -- the time when commencement speaker and math teacher, Richard Jordan, graduated high school.

"I must admit, I was reluctant to give this address because I thought I was too young," Jordan said. "But then, I experienced a joy that comes often in the life of a high school teacher. Several students, seeking to alleviate my concerns, very kindly pointed out that I was in fact, old."

But the night's focus then shifted from the past to a focus on the future. Drawing parallels between high school graduation and a couple's wedding, Jordan explained that the true purpose of both ceremonies is to witness the beginning of a journey and to celebrate the future.

"The people sitting out there in the audience -- your family, friends, teachers and community members -- their pride is not limited to your past accomplishments," said Jordan. "No, we all look with eager expectation toward to your future triumphs."

Page last updated Wed June 19th, 2013 at 00:00