That was the word.
It seemed to paint itself across every surface of Oak Harbor High School’s 2017 commencement ceremony Monday night at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.
Graduates pranced and posed their way from the podium with their hard-won diplomas in hand.
Hopes pulsed from the grandstand as friends and family stomped their feet in reception of the newly minted adults.
As the 355 graduates turned their tassels and tossed their caps, they saw their high-school objectives fulfilled and looked toward new goals.
Student speaker Seth Gluth stuck to the evening’s theme.
“The class of 2017 is a class with uncapped potential,” he said. “I know that these young adults next to me can become anything they set their minds to through hard work and determination.”
Each of the four additional student speakers — Jeremy Mitchell, Mikayla Wilson, Adam Nelson and Seth Wezeman — shared personal insight into the class of 2017’s potential.
“Without balance, any success leaves a void, a sort of hole where some part of your life has fallen, your potential ends up unfulfilled,” Wezeman said.
“Full-balanced potential in all walks of life is a necessity to living in a way that builds, instead of deteriorates.”
Wezeman cautioned that, in a world where employers ask their workers to sacrifice their health for their jobs, it is those who implement personal boundaries that will find their potentials fulfilled.
“Each person has a finite amount of energy and to spend it all in one place leaves other areas of your life like dry bones,” he said.
Superintendent Lance Gibbon rounded out the commencement ceremony’s speeches with a rousing message, telling the graduates that while everyone falls short from time to time, we each always have a chance to forge success.
Indeed, Gibbon said that it is especially in the face of adversity that we can reach our true potential.
“As Seuss says,” Gibbon said, ‘“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”