In his valedictory speech Wednesday, Julian Pei told his fellow North Penn High School graduates not to fear end-of-the-world prognosticators, but to bravely face the challenges that lie ahead.
“The world is a tough place to be in right now,” Pei said, citing rising gasoline prices and a sluggish economy as proof. “Sometimes, it feels like our country is just unraveling.”
He mentioned Harold Camping, the radio broadcaster who recently predicted the Rapture would occur on May 21, thus bringing an end to the world.
“We made it through (May 21) with no problems, right?” Pei said. “Will 2012 be the same?”
The 56th annual commencement was held on the high school campus in Crawford Stadium. Crowds of people filled the bleachers or lined up around the track. Many held congratulatory balloons; others brought flowers.
Principal Burton Hynes credited the students for last month’s news that the Washington Post ranked North Penn as one of the top high schools in the nation, based on the number of Advanced Placement tests given.
“In the last 13 years, you have proven yourselves to be resilient, optimistic, competitive, and heirs to the traditions of North Penn High School,” Hynes said.
Vince Sherpinsky, school board president, presented the Class of 2011 with three challenges.
“Remember, you’re ready for anything,” he said. “You have the tools to succeed. Think creatively, learn continuously.”
Second, “make a real difference; don’t just try. Make this a way of life,” he continued.
“Most important, never ever forget your roots. You belong to one of the best high schools in Pennsylvania. You will always be a member of the Blue Crew," Sherpinsky said.