Sandusky High School senior class president Brock Sennish couldn't resist quoting one of his favorite authors during commencement Sunday afternoon.
"True terror is to wake up one morning and realize your high school class is running the country," Sennish said, giving a tip of his navy blue mortarboard to author Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Sennish said, however, he has no such worries about the Sandusky Class of 2009. Speaking from a foliage-strewn podium at Stroble Field, he congratulated his 216 classmates on their accomplishments in athletics, academics and the arts during the past four years.
To share your graduation memories and post your own photos, go to the Pixboard by clicking HERE.
The 3,800-capacity stadium was packed with parents, family and friends of the graduates, including Chicago Bears offensive tackle Orlando Pace and Cleveland Metropolitan Schools superintendent Eugene Sanders.
While Sennish was congratulatory, he also acknowledged the class is up against some serious issues, such as a major recession, wars on the other side of the globe and widespread poverty and hunger.
He challenged the class to put aside selfishness and work to solve the world's problems.
High School principal Dan Poggiali said the class has already shown it is capable of leading the way.
"We've had another great year, largely due to the leadership of these students in the class of 2009," he said.
Instead of a valedictorian, the school recognized the top 10 students: Sennish, Alyssa Berger, Katherine Borchardt, Paul Bupe Jr., Nicholas Cundiff, Michael Gutierrez Jr., Aaron Hixson, Megan Sims, Travis Steinemann and Matthew Zoellner.
Zoellner and Hixson were honored with additional accolades for leadership, academics, extracurriculars and athletics, as were Morgan Lippus, Karl Fleck and Ashley Waddington.
Director of guidance Barbara Straka-Kenning said even with the poor economy, the majority of students plan to attend college or a certificate program.
"More students are staying close to home, more are staying in-state, going to public universities instead of private colleges," she said.
The students also showed savvy in their career choices, with many pursuing health care occupations.
"They are really listening and attempting to make wise choices about careers that will be available," she said.