Mr. Hale, Mr. Masinter, Congressman Shuster, Classmates, Family, and Friends,

This day marks the culmination of our high school careers.  Four years of work, learning, and growth conclude on this day.  Everything we've done since first grade has prepared us for this day, the day we leave high school and head off into the world.  But we are not just leaving high school, we are leaving Mercersburg.  And yet, though we are leaving, we take a piece of Mercersburg with us, just as we leave a piece of us behind.

We take with us all that Mercersburg has taught us, from keyboarding instruction to study skills to seemingly trivial things, like checking mail at 10:00, or studying from 8:00 to 10:00.  And we also take with us ideals that Mercersburg has striven to instill in us: integrity, strength, honor -- the school's code.  Though the school does not actively preach "via crucis, via lucis" -- the way of the cross is the way of light -- the idea of spirituality is instilled in us through the Chapel program and, for those who attend, the weekly chapel service.  Some things which we do without thinking, like doing some form of physical activity at 4:00, are the direct result of the impact Mercersburg has had on us.

But this impact is not simply a one-way street.  As Newton said, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Our participating in afternoon activities or sports helps shape the kinds of activities and sports offered.  Women's Lacrosse was a new addition to the sports roster last year, and Taekwondo and Yoga are new additions to afternoon activities as well.  The drama department has also been expanded, and now offers acting, dance, and speech classes.  Through our interests and actions, we leave a mark on the school much greater than a carving in a desk or wall.  For, unlike the carving, which will be scrubbed away over the summer, the changes we have made extracurricularly and academically will stay longer than we have stayed here.

And this mutual exchange of influences and impacts effects much more than this campus in the middle of south central Pennsylvania, and it effects many more than the hundred eleven graduates gathered upon this platform.  Each one of us, during the course of the rest of our lives, will come into contact with a myriad of people, some will become friends, others acquaintances, and we will pass by countless more.  But the way with we conduct ourselves, the way that we interact with others, is influenced by the environment here at Mercersburg.  Thus Mercersburg, in her own way, will influence the lives of multitudes, simply by working through us, her graduates, her children.

But, as I stated, this relationship is a two-way street.  By making positive changes in the school, like the expanded Drama program or the expanded afternoon activities, we have an impact on future Mercersburg students.  Perhaps a student will be intrigued by the classroom with mirrors in the basement of Boone Hall, and, as a result of his curiosity which, unlike the unfortunate cat, won't kill him, ends us as a fairly talented dancer.  Or perhaps the influence will be felt by the girl who takes up lacrosse because it's pretty close to the sport she loves -- field hockey.  Or perhaps a student is trying to decide whether or not to go to Mercersburg, and the expanded theater program will convince her to come to this hallowed place of learning.

Thus, as Mercersburg infuences the people whom we will meet, we influence the people Mercersburg will nurture, just as we have been influenced by countless numbers of previous classes.  Indeed, perhaps the most notable influence during our stay at Mercersburg was the result of two groups of students at Marshall College who decided to organize two literary societies.  Today, a large part of the Mercersburg experience is the Irving / Marshall competition. 

Thus, as we are shaped by the events of the last century, we will help shape the events of the next century.  Let us shape them well.