Braham graduates look forward to future

Front row left to right: Ryan Fitzsimmons, Adam Hendren, Aidan Fealy and Ben Thiry. Back row left to right: William Peckels, Dan Ramthun, Ben Hammond, Bret Cuda, Michael Strelow, Erik Vavra and Codi Kruse. Photos by Elizabeth Sias

By Elizabeth Sias

“Our glory consists not in never failing, but in rising each time we fall.”

This quote by Oliver Goldsmith is the Braham Area High School class of 2011 motto, and the sentiment was echoed Friday night during the graduation ceremony.

Class speaker Ryan Fitzsimmons reminded his classmates that it’s not the bad memories that define them, but how they rise up from the moments that knock them down.

Class speaker Ryan Fitzsimmons began by sharing memories of meeting his closest friends. During one of the first days of kindergarten, he and another boy ran away from girls on the playground; they’ve been best friends ever since.

The class of 2011 has a lot of jokes and good memories, he said, but has been through difficult times as well. They’ve witnessed the death of classmates and injuries and illnesses of close friends and teachers.

On the road ahead, Fitzsimmons said, he and his classmates will face difficult times, but it is the good memories that matter most.

“There are going to be hard times that just suck and you wish you could escape,” Fitzsimmons said. “However, it is not the bad memories that define us. It’s how you rise up from the moments that knock you down and make good memories in spite of the bad ones.”

After receiving their diplomas, the Braham Area High School class of 2011 graduates throw their caps in the air in celebration.

Class speaker Jessica Zierden thanked teachers for pushing the students to achieve all they could possibly achieve and shaping them into the people they’ve become — good students, teammates and friends.

“We have grown up, developed unbreakable bonds, had our fair share of struggles, overcome individual obstacles and turned into young adults who know who they are, have a direction in life and are definitely on to bigger and better things,” she said.

Principal Judy Adams acknowledged students who will be serving in the military and presented special awards to the top 10 percent of the class.

Senior Bret Cuda shakes hands with Superintendent Greg Winter after receiving his diploma from his father, Board of Education Member Anthony Cuda.

Walking across the stage surrounded by the applause and cheers of supportive parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers and friends, the seniors accepted their diplomas as they shook hands with Superintendent Greg Winter and Board of Education members Anthony Cuda and Craig Hammond.

“A wise man once told me there’s a difference in living and being alive. I challenge everyone don’t forget to live,” Fitzsimmons said. “Hard times are going to happen, just drive to be the best you can. Don’t forget to have fun, laugh and experience the joys of life. I’m very confident this class will do amazing things and I truly believe that all of you are bound for greatness.”