By Krystle S. Morey

Jonathan Fisher has always lived a life of service and helping others.
Fisher walked across the stage on the front steps of the Granville High School Friday with 87 of his fellow classmates as family, friends, administrators and community members applauded the group’s accomplishments, wishing them success in the next chapter of their lives.
Community service is a requirement of high school seniors’ Capstone Project, but Fisher went beyond that by putting in countless hours as a member of the Rupert Volunteer Fire Department.

Jonathan Fisher

Jonathan Fisher

 

“My father is a member there and so are some family friends, so it is like a second home,” he said. “It is important because you are helping others. You get to help make sure that everything is better in the end. It may not be that way all the time, of course, but at least there are people making an effort.”
Fisher, a two-year member of the department received the Community Service Award at the Class of 2016’s baccalaureate service last Thursday. The award is presented to a class member who has demonstrated love for community by serving in various ways.
Fisher decided to continue to live a life of service by joining the U.S. Air Force.
“I really didn’t want anything to do with the military until last August,” he said. “I will always thank a veteran when I see them … maybe it is because I want to be like the veterans that I thank. I help my community now maybe I should branch off to help serve my country.”
Anytime now, Fisher will ship off to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio where he will begin basic training. Fisher is in the Quick Ship Program, which means he could get a call from his recruiter, Jordan Chaplin, any day and have to leave that night. He is waiting on a position in operations intelligence where he will be responsible for handling classified information.
“The military can be a career in itself and you get the training and qualifications through the military and dou get paid while you are training, unlike a college where you pay to get trained,” he said.
The military is in Fisher’s blood. His brother, Timothy LaBonte, is a specialist in the Army National Guard. His father, Petty Officer First Class George Fisher, is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. The list goes on: Major Richard Bedford U.S. Marines (retired), SA Jerry Bedford U.S. Air Force, SPC Trevor Thompson U.S. Army, Major Dan LaBonte U.S. Marines (retired), Cpl. Edwin Fisher U.S. Army (deceased), Edward Fisher U.S. Army (deceased), and Raymond Fisher U.S. Army (deceased).
“Community service isn’t something you do just to get a capstone award or to graduate, it’s something that lasts a lifetime,” said Rev. Jerry McKinney at the Baccalaureate ceremony.
McKinney and Board of Education member Molly Celani presented Fisher with a plaque and a monetary reward on behalf of the Mettowee Valley Ecumenical Council. Both thanked Fisher for his service to our country and the community.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” McKinney said to Fisher. “You have done that in ways that have been an example for your peers and for those of us who are a little older than your peers.”
Fisher is one of four students set to join the military after graduation. Other members of the class will join the workforce and some will pursue degrees at various colleges and universities across the country.
Valedictorian Brooke Stanley plans to study international business and finance at Georgetown University in the fall.
Stanley, who spoke at Friday’s graduation ceremony, quoted Journalist Mary Schmich. “Do one thing every day that scares you,” she said.
Stanley reminisced about the last 12 years she and her classmates had spent together, pointing to her first national convention for FFA as one of her most memorable moments. On that trip, Stanley and her classmates ventured to the top of a 1,400-foot tall tower.
“In high school, we all climb our own towers,” she said. “Whether they are large with flights of stairs that require arduous climbing, or whether they are short and are easy to take on, each and every one of my classmates has climbed their own towers to be here today.”
Salutatorian Suzannah Van Gelder left her peers with thoughts about the importance of building each of their own life soundtracks.
“Your soundtrack reflects your soul,” said Van Gelder, who will study culture and communication at Ithaca College in the fall. “While you are writing your soundtrack, your soundtrack is writing you.”
Several administrators also spoke at the ceremony.
Principal Camille Harrelson took the students back in time, comparing their education and futures to when they used to play with building blocks as kids.
“Each one of you started with a landscape, clear and level,” she said. “Each of you has an opportunity to build something great.”
Each graduate received a small bag of Legos after they received their diplomas.
“You can’t have a perfect wall until you lay the first brick carefully,” Harrelson said.
Harrelson noted that sometimes people, challenges and obstacles in life beyond high school will knock a few blocks over.
“Each one of those difficulties is an opportunity to lay the next brick perfectly,” she said. “Over your past years at Granville, with the guidance of family, friends and teachers, you began to lay each brick of knowledge, one building on top of the other. You now have a strong educational foundation that is limitless in its possibilities.”

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