GREENSBURG – Few in number but legion in hope and optimism, the North Decatur High School Class of 2014 gathered for their commencement ceremony surrounded by family, friends and educators Saturday.
Popular Social Studies teacher Ernie Ruble served as the ceremony’s featured speaker, and he used his time invoke the sage advice of scholars of every sort. From William Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss, an at times emotional Ruble, called the speaking engagement “the greatest professional honor” he’d yet received.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind,” Ruble said quoting Dr. Seuss. The teacher, himself a North Decatur grad, told a rapt Charger audience how he felt on his graduation day 30 years ago.
He also expressed his love for the school and told the students the day was a fitting one for celebration.
Looking around the gymnasium, Ruble asked parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives and friends of the graduating class to stand as a visual representation of the support the 70 graduating seniors had at hand thus far throughout their lives.
In spite of the support always waiting back home, Ruble urged the students to forge their own identities and to seek out their goals.
“We know what we are, but we know not what we may be,” the teacher said quoting Shakespeare.
“It’s up to you to decide what you are and who you will become.”
Ruble also offered students their first graduation gift: a dollar bill stamped with the NDHS logo held in an envelope beneath each graduate’s chair.
Ruble expressed pride in the students and noted their importance to himself and his fellow educators.
It’s a feeling that was blatantly mutual.
Senior Class Valedictorian Lauren Kinker said of her teachers, “You rock and North Decatur is very fortunate to have you.”