SPRING MILLS — When Ray Thomann graduated from Penns Valley Area High School 50 years ago, he said gas was 31 cents per gallon.
You could drive for a week for the cost of a Starbucks venti latte, he said Wednesday, to laughs from the schools current graduating class and their families and friends.
Thomann, the 1962 class president, and other alumni from that year, joined the new graduates to celebrate their achievements. He regaled the group with what happened in 1962 Ronald Reagan was still a movie star and listed some of the technology that has developed since then, like the Xbox and cellphones.
Good Lord, how did we ever survive? he asked.
The 97 graduates walked onto the high school football field wearing blue and white, and many had decorated their caps with bright colors and glitter that twinkled in the sun. One student had decorated hers yellow with the red stitches of a softball.
Valedictorian Madison Bastress noted that change defined the class, both the individuals as they grew over the years and the class as the schools changed and a new soccer field was built.
Our time here has been made more meaningful because it doesnt last forever, she said. When we return here in 50 years ... my hope is you will have changed.
Class President Gabrielle Maylock spoke on the theme happiness is success and said students dont have to rely on awards or labels.
We all want to be happy and we all want to be successful, she said. They go together. Each one of us has the potential to be successful.
Thomann predicted the graduates would receive plenty of advice as they move on and, after giving a bit from the class of 1962, answered how to tell the good advice from the bad.
I hate to tell you, he said. But welcome to the real world.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter