WILLIAMSBURG— When Bruton High School Principal Arletha Dockery asked the families of Bruton High School graduates to refrain from cheering in order to make sure each student's name could be heard, William and Mary Hall murmured with disapproval.
But the moratorium at Bruton's Friday afternoon commencement exercise was gleefully ignored.
When Lydia Albrecht's name was read, the cheering began, and it continued, occasionally accompanied by an air horn, until Marissa Ziegler, the last member of the class of 2016, walked across the stage.
The audience had been enthusiastic throughout the ceremony, clapping and singing along as the school chorus sang "Waiting on the World to Change" and "Unwritten." As soloists stepped up to the microphone, pockets of cheering broke out in the arena.
Before the students crossed the stage, they were encouraged by two of their own: Salutatorian Dylan Patrick Shannon and Valedictorian Trevor Kent LeForge.
Shannon told a parable about a boy loving his pet bird so much that he held it tightly, ultimately squeezing it to death. He encouraged his classmates to realize that now was their time to fly, and he encouraged the parents and teachers to let them go.
"We must all leave the cage at some time, and now is our time," Shannon said.
LeForge told his classmates to not be afraid of "wasting" time doing things they love. LeForge, who is a state champion swimmer, talked about spending hours at the pool and said he does not regret that time.
"Time is only wasted if you think it is," LeForge said.
York Superintendent Victor Shandor channeled William and Mary alumnus Mike Tomlin, who is the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quoting Tomlin, Shandor told the students not to compromise in their quest for excellence and to remember, "The standard is the standard."
Margaret Aline Perry and Felix Kwame Amon both won the Bruton Medallion. Dockery said the award is given annually to students who exemplify "active, helpful and hardworking Panthers."
As the last speaker, Dockery encouraged the students to be relentless, but patient, in their pursuit of success.
"In a society that teaches us we can have it all and have it now, we must embrace the power of 'Not yet,'" Dockery said.
McKinnon can be reached at 757-345-2341.
Total enrollment: 609
Class of 2016: 146
Student speakers: Trevor LeForge, Dylan Shannon, Sadye Donnell, Kelcee Harrod, Tayah Andrews, Richard Westlund III