HUGHESVILLE - Overcoming adversity served as the theme for the Lycoming Career and Technology Center senior ceremony on Wednesday night.
The choice for the theme, as explained by Executive Director Eric W. Butler. was that the graduates faced situations unlike most other students did in their three years attending classes. They saw the recession in 2009, school budget cuts, wars, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, international disasters and local ones, such as last year's flooding.
"A lot of that would take the life out of people," Butler said. "(The students) took it all in stride."
Dominic Ginoble, of Loyalsock Township, and Kurt Hiller, of Hughesville, laugh Wednesday night during their graduation ceremony at the Lycoming Career and Technology Center in Hughesville.
As a whole, the graduates took their education seriously, performing well in their PSSAs and taking advantage of the opportunities available to them through the school, he said. They did a variety of community service projects and helped younger students.
More than 75 students received diplomas during Wednesday's ceremony, held in the Hughesville High School auditorium. As each name was read, a picture of the student working in his or her field was displayed as their accomplishments and future plans were announced.
Students received diplomas in automotive technology, computer service technology, construction technology, criminal justice, culinary arts, and drafting and design technology. Their future plans included going into the workforce, attending a post-secondary school or joining the armed forces.
After graduation, 80 percent of the students said they wanted to stay in the area to work and raise a family, Butler said.
A graduation ceremony exists as a transition step, keynote speaker Dr. Jeannette Carter said.
Carter's transitions were from high school to college to work, and from a job to dream career. She now is director of outreach for K-12 staff at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
"You can have a job like that," she told the students. "It's awesome."
With transitions come excitement, uncertainty, opportunities and dream identification, Carter said.
The skills the students received during their time at the career and technology center will prepare them for their futures, whether it be for college, military, work or a combination, she said.
"You can go directly to work, but learning is never done," Carter said. "You're always learning."
She offered advice to the graduates, encouraging them to surround themselves with people they want to be like, not negative people, and to work toward being the people they want to be.
"Don't be surprised if the next few months are scary," Carter said. "All these transitions take strength. Find a dream you love and the life you want to live."
She encouraged them to try, and if they made mistakes, which she assured them they will, to learn from those mistakes.
"Have a plan where you want to go next," she said.
Vance T. Meyer, of Warrior Run, was named student of the year. When he entered the career and technology center as a sophomore, he said, he did not have future plans, other than a desire to do something in criminal justice.
"Anything is possible," he said.
He thanked his teachers for what they taught him and his parents for the lessons they instilled in him.
"I'm proud to represent the Lycoming Career and Technology Center, class of 2012," Meyer said.