GREENSBURG — North Decatur Jr/Sr High School Principal Charlie McCoy shared an analogy of what he expects of the 2016 Charger graduates.

On Friday during rehearsal for the 2016 graduation ceremony, a bird was caught inside the gym of North Decatur High School. The bird was eventually caught in a jacket and taken to an exterior door. At the door the bird took off, flying away.

“Just like that bird that was confined and trapped inside this space, it was taken outside in this jacket that I have on right now,” McCoy said. “When I opened the jacket up that bird flew away. It didn’t drop to the ground, it soared and I believe you’re going to soar.”

McCoy’s comments were among the many that will be remembered for the rest of the 84 graduates of this year’s class.

Opening the ceremony were Student Council Representatives Joshua Geis and Zachary Johnson with the Pledge of Allegiance. Senior Choral members then took the microphone over to perform the Star-Spangled Banner.

Class President Evan Wallpe welcomed the crowd into the sultry and packed gymnasium with a few memories including one from his 17th birthday when he expected a surprise for his birthday at the office, but came to find that he was only called there to be told that his car had been hit in the parking lot.

Betsy Litmer was the class speaker. Litmer is a teacher, coach and senior sponsor at North Decatur High School. She shared life advice for the students moving forward. Some of the advice was more practical such as wearing deodorant or having gum for when you’re running late and just don’t have time to brush your teeth.

Litmer also gave advice tying to the class’ song, “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw.

The ND singers followed Litmer with an awe inspiring rendition of “Seasons of Love”.

McCoy then presented 2016 North Decatur Valedictorian Derek Hocker with a medal and handed the stage over to. Hocker achieved a 4.262 GPA throughout high school on a 4-point scale.

Before beginning his speech, Hocker took a moment to give memory to classmate Lindsay Noah, who passed away as a sophomore.

Zachary Johnson was then presented a medal as the Salutatorian of the Class of 2016. Johnson provided much comedic relief to the crowd with many odes to his “nerdy” habits and also provided a dose of reality to the students that were graduating.

“Let me start by saying ‘Thank God’,” Johnson said. “It is finally here; Graduation. The day that we have been longing for the past few years is here. That day is today. That’s pretty exciting.”

Hocker will be attending Indiana University in the fall to study biology, with aspirations of becoming an Oncologist. Johnson will be attending Purdue University in the fall to major in Computer Science.

McCoy gave facts about the group of students after Student Council President Blair Kramer held Class Recognitions. Class recognitions provided another moment that will be remembered for a lifetime as the students that acknowledged their intentions to join the armed forces we acknowledged with a lengthy ovation by the crowd in attendance.

McCoy then explained that of this year’s 84 graduates, 75 students earned scholarships. The total amount of those scholarships totaled $3,645,298, a new North Decatur record. McCoy also acknowledged that of the graduates, 53 percent obtained either a technical honors diploma or honors diploma.

McCoy then presented the class to Decatur County Schools Superintendent Johnny Budd and recommended they graduate. Budd accepted and the presentation of diplomas began.

Class president Wallpe once again took to the stage and led his classmates in the Turning of Tassels.

Like the bird from rehearsal, the 2016 class of North Decatur Jr/Sr High School plans to now soar away from the confines of the school and live the life they so choose.

Contact: James Howell Jr., 812-663-3111 x 7011; james.howell@greensburgdailynews.com