All high school graduations have speeches. All high school graduations have music. At Red Lion Area High School's graduation Friday night, speaker Brian Weaver punctuated his address with well-timed music.

Titled "One Giant Leap," Weaver's speech drew parallels between space exploration and the journey now facing the graduates.

He began his speech with the line, "A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away," paraphrasing the phrase that appeared in blue text George Lucas' blockbuster "Star Wars" movies. Weaver said that Neil Armstrong had said, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," when he first stepped on the moon.

"Space is the final frontier," he said, and the band played the theme from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

"It's time to activate our hyperdrives," he said. Like astronauts stepping off into space or "Luke Skywalker leaving home on the Millennium Falcon, it's one small step in the right direction and one giant leap into our future," Weaver said. As he finished, the band played the "Star Wars" theme song.

Weaver was one of four class speakers. Red Lion doesn't award titles of valedictorian and salutatorian; rather, there are three speaker positions open and the students audition for them. The fourth speaker position is for the class president.

The two other class speakers, Athule Magadu and Tim McGee, also drew analogies in their speeches. McGee's speech, "All the World's A Stage," encouraged his fellow classmates to embrace failure.


"Failure is hard to overcome. If you fail, try to bigger and better things," he said.

Magadu encouraged her classmates to have "pride, wisdom and courage."

"Who do you want to be?" she asked her fellow graduates.

Graduation for Red Lion's more than 380 graduates - girls in gold and boys in black -was held in the gymnasium, with the ceremony live-streamed onto screens in the auditorium, due to the rainy weather.

When the diplomas were conferred, the gymnasium erupted into loud cheers and a standing ovation for Chelsea White, a student who was injured in an ATV accident that claimed the life of fellow classmate Rachel Shoup last summer.

Class president Jesse North reminded her classmates of the days when they were younger and dressed up in their parents' shoes, "which gave us clown feet," she said.

"Now we've stepped out of our parents' shoes into our own," she added.

Red Lion High School Class of 2013

Number of graduates: 383*

Graduation ceremony held: June 7 in the high school gymnasium

Speakers: Athule Magadu; Tim McGee; Brian Weaver; Jesse North, class president; Mark Shue, high school principal; Scott Deisley, district superintendent