MARTINSBURG - Central High School Principal David Crumrine said that, though the students in the Class of 2014 were in school to learn, they passed on a few lessons of their own to the faculty.
He named four things about facing challenges that he learned from the 132-strong graduating class: Life's not about recognition or praise; even if things get turned around, don't give up; maintain a sense of humor and surround oneself with support.
He said the student's abilities to tackle adversity "speaks highly of what (they) have inside."
"You know what you guys are? Survivors," Crumrine said at the high school's graduation on Friday night. "No, I take that back. You're much more than that - you're overcomers."
The ceremony was moved indoors to the high school auditorium because of inclement weather. Family members and friends lined up more than an hour before the ceremony to get the best seats.
Senior class president Benjamin Decker was apologetic to the crowd about the change in venue.
"I know being crammed in this auditorium is less than ideal," he said.
Decker, in his presentation, noted that though the students grew up in a community that could be described as being "in the middle of a cornfield," there was no limit to their opportunities.
He said, though, that Martinsburg was always the place they were meant to call home.
"Out of all the places in the world that we could be, I think it's right that we're all here together," Decker said.
He also led a moment of silence as a remembrance candle was lit.
This is a relatively new tradition at Spring Cove district events, but one
that will likely continue, he said.
"This candle will burn bright through our ceremony and future graduations in remembrance of those who could not be here tonight," Decker said.
Class valedictorian Laura Ritchey said she will always be thankful for the memories she's gained at Central High School.
She reminded her classmates that throughout their future careers, whatever those may be, they'll have many chances to impact people's lives.
"We may not be able to change the world," Ritchey said, "but if we impact those around us, we could create a ripple effect that could go beyond where we could even imagine."
Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.