Northeastern High School Class of 2013 graduates will likely remember many things about their graduation, not the least of which is that it was held indoors during a tornado watch.
The graduates and audience members were briefed by high school assistant principal Melissa Bream at the start of the ceremony as to evacuation plans in the event of that emergency.
Despite the meteorological concern, the rest of the ceremony passed smoothly for the 204 black- and orange-clad graduates.
High school principal Mathew Gay introduced the honor graduates - those in the National Honor Society as well as those graduating summa, magna or cum laude. In introducing the valedictorian and salutatorian, Gay revealed that their final GPAs were separated by less than 1 percentage point, at 0.968 difference between Peter Snell's 102.655 and Shelby McGuigan's 101.687.
Gay touted the accomplishments of both teens, from AP-heavy course loads to high scores on the AP exams to extracurricular activities.
McGuigan is headed to Susquehanna University in the fall to study marketing, while Snell will be attending the University of Pennsylvania to major in ancient history. Snell is the first Northeastern graduate in more than five years to be accepted at an Ivy League school, Gay added.
When it was his turn to speak, Snell eschewed typical graduation speeches that are long on advice.
" 'Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!'" he said, to laughter from audience members who got the joke. "If you don't know what that means, ask a nerd," he added.
The line he quoted comes from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone," the first book in the best-selling series by J.K. Rowling.
"I know you were expecting a long speech about the future being bright. But no," Snell continued. He told his classmates that the future wasn't going to be what they expected it to be.
"You may date one type of person and then end up with someone completely different than what you expected. Although, if you've been through high school, you probably already know that," he said to laughter from the audience.
He warned the group that the plans they have now may not be the plans they'll see fulfilled.
"Like my plan to take over the world!" he said, adding an evil laugh for good measure. When the audience's laughter subsided, Snell said, "I was going to blow an airhorn for that part, but the administration worried you'd freak out because of the tornado warning.
"Oh, well," he added and blew the horn.
Northeastern High School Class of 2013
Number of graduates: 204
Graduation ceremony held: June 10 in the high school gymnasium
Valedictorian: Peter Snell
Salutatorian: Shelby McGuigan
Other speakers: Melissa Bream, high school assistant principal; Margie Walker, school board president; Katie Carlton, student speaker; Renae Luckenbaugh, student speaker; Mathew Gay, high school principal; Jessica Richardson, student speaker; Peter Snell, class valedictorian; Jody Nace, school superintendent; Alexandra Kessler, class president; and Sierra Weaver, class vice-president.