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Morris Area seniors graduate

Salutatorian Holly Amundson (left) and Valedictorian Kevin Viratyosin (right) gave graduation addresses at Morris Area High School's graduation ceremony on Friday night.

On Friday, 68 area seniors received their diplomas at the Morris Area Elementary School Gym.

Eighteen students were recognized as Honor Students, and seven graduated with distinction.

Valedictorian Kevin Viratyosin and Salutatorian Holly Amundson delivered graduation addresses.

Here are the students' speeches:

Kevin Viratyosin, Valedictorian

"Good artists copy; great artists steal." Steve Jobs used to say this with attribution to Pablo Picasso. Given Apple's history with Microsoft at the time, it was evident that Jobs was referring to the now famous intellectual theft of the graphic user interface, comparing Microsoft to the good artist and Apple to the great artist.

However, that story has past and most of us will never need to worry about who really stole what from whom, but the note applies elsewhere as well. "Good artists copy; great artists steal." Since the pantograph and before, man has been able to copy his world, to replicate the work of his fellows past. But to steal a work, to boldly take as one's own and for one's own purposes, is a feat reserved for the creative mind.

At the start of the 20th century, short of minimally adjustable box cameras, cameras were relatively voluminous; they had bellows on rails and large ground glass plates and would frequently require the use of a tripod. Given such a great weight, for asthmatic photographer Oskar Barnack, this was problematic. So, in 1912, he engineered a still camera to make use of existing 35mm movie film. A researcher at a German optics company, Barnack presented this invention to his employer Ernst Leitz. From this prototype came the Leica I whose 35mm format would enjoy popularity among photographers throughout the following century and give rise to many of the camera companies we know today. Although he only made use of existing technologies - the focal-plane shutter, a lens derived from the Cooke triplet, and 35mm film - for his invention, today, Oskar Barnack is regarded as an innovative mechanical engineer and the father of the 35mm camera.

By now it must be evident that I don't mean to tell you to stroll into the Louvre and steal the Mona Lisa. Rather, as you walk through life, do not fear to take and learn from the discoveries of our predecessors as you strive to mark the world. Do not feel limited by the need to be original; there is no original idea - only great people who derive from life novel creations. Let us strive to be those great people - those great artists. Congratulations class of 2012. Let the years gone by be past and the years that follow, well begun.

Holly Amundson, Salutatorian

It all started out in the fall of 1999. The Class of 2012 came together for the first time. We left the security of our homes and daycares to get on the big, yellow school bus to start our learning process. We have created many memories over the years and I wanted to share a few of them with you this evening.

May 2000

Dear Diary,

Kindergarten is a lot of fun. I have made lots of new friends and my teacher, Mrs. Fluegel, is very nice. Today we performed the play "Jack and the Beanstalk." James Aronson was Jack and Jacob Erickson was the Giant even though he isn't very tall. I bet one day they will be great actors.

September 2000

Dear Diary,

First grade is not as fun. We barely get any time to play and my new classroom doesn't have a pretend Pizza Hut like last year. Right now, we are learning to read words like "cat" and "hat." Maybe I'll even be able to read books soon.

May 2002

Dear Diary,

The second graders got to go to Ice Cream and Lollipops today. I accidentally hit Jaimie Bergerson on the head with my lollipop.Thomas McPhee got the part of the rooster in our concert "E-I-E-I Oops!" He was surrounded by all of the cute chicks, but I still think boys have cooties.

October 2002

Dear Diary,

In third grade, Mrs. Turner helped us make a list of classroom rules. She told us by doing each of these things we could reach our hopes and dreams. The rules were to be positive, be a friend, help others and share, always try, be quiet during certain times, and listen to each other. We got to go the pumpkin patch today. We are going to paint and sell the pumpkins we picked at Willie's SuperValu.

September 2003

Dear Diary,

Fourth grade. We got assignment notebooks today. What's up with that? Plus, our moms and dads have to sign them every night!

May 2005

Dear Diary,

Do we really have to get up at 5:00 a.m. for a rocket launch?

April 2006

Dear Diary,

We are in the new school this year and are the top dogs. On our sixth grade class trip up North, half of our grade got in trouble for using the game room and arcade that was off-limits. To top it all off, someone forgot to close the windows in our cabin. It was freezing outside so we squeezed six girls into two bunk beds. I'm very nervous to move to the high school next year.

September 2006

Dear Diary,

The Class of 2012 just got much larger. The students from both St. Mary's and Cyrus joined us and we have lots of new names to memorize. We're also trying to remember our locker combinations. My locker is right next to the boy's bathroom. Gross!

October 2010

Dear Diary,

These last couple of years have gone by so quickly that I forgot to keep you updated. School keeps us all pretty busy with sports, clubs, theatre, music, and other activities... not to mention math tests, science fair projects, and English papers.

Last year, the one act show took first place at sub-sections. Our very own Thomas Roberts even received a "starred" performance in this original production. My classmates have come a long way since "Jack and the Beanstalk." This month, Kaitlin Van Horn and Lloyd Lesmeister go to FFA Nationals for the Ag Issues contest. They were part of the first team from the Morris Area chapter to win a State competition and continue to the National level. Even though our class lost the Powderpuff game, Megan Mecklenburg had the highlight of the game with her long run for the only junior touchdown.

June 1, 2012

Dear Diary,

This year has been full of many memories that we can cherish for the rest of our lives. For instance, it's no secret that many of you in this class have a favorite vehicle. You know how we love our trucks. Although I know we will miss seeing each other, I think we might miss seeing Weston Anderson wear his "Friday shirt" every week the most.

As we each go in our separate directions, it's important for us to take a few moments to look back and remember what brought us to this point. Each of my fellow graduates should be very proud of their accomplishments. Even though next year we will be without one another, there is no doubt in my mind that this class will succeed in their future endeavors.

Tonight the Morris Area Class of 2012 will walk across this stage to receive their long-awaited diplomas. I wish you all the best in whatever you do. Let me leave you with this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Thank you!