PALMETTO -- Unless.
Borrowing a famous quote from the Dr. Seuss story "The Lorax," Bayshore High School Principal David Underhill spoke Saturday morning to 275 graduates of the Class of 2015 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.
In the "The Lorax," a character says to a young boy: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
The saying holds true, Underhill said. He encouraged graduates to care and help change the community, state, country and the world.
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"I say loudly to you: I know that you will not let us down," he said. "You will make a difference."
In keeping with tradition, each student entered the auditorium holding a yellow rose, the school flower. After each name
was called, a short description of the student's future plans were read while the graduate shook hands with district and school officials.
Bayshore student futures include four- and two-year schools, continuing in the workforce and entering military service.
Graduates were reminded to give thanks by student speaker Serrenda Capers.
As a young child, Capers said her grandmother taught her Southern women always say "please" and "thank you."
Capers thanked her family, friends and teachers for each year at Bayshore High School.
"My friends, it comes down to these two simple words: Thank you," she said.
Capers then broke out into Andrew Gold's song "Thank You For Being a Friend." Many fellow graduates and audience members clapped and sang along with her.
Capers was followed by student speaker Ryan Burnham, who encouraged students to look forward.
"Commencement is the beginning, and yet, it is the end," he said.
Reflecting back on some of the big events the past four years -- including a government shutdown, the Boston Marathon bombing and the release of the Apple watch -- Burnham reminded students more is still to come.
"It is time for the torch to be passed and it's time for us to step up," Burnham said.
And, as he ended every Pledge of Allegiance announcement at school the past two years, Burnham signed off with the same phrase: "Thank you and have a great day."
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.