May 30, 2011

Sen. Manchin Gives Commencement Speech at Meadow Bridge Graduation | WVNS News

MEADOW BRIDGE --  Connie Callison, the Valedictorian of Meadow Bridge High School’s 2011 graduating class, says it’s been a long road to this day. Now that she, and her fellow classmates, are here she says they can all be proud.

“This is one of the highlights of our lives,” said Callison.

Hundreds of graduates crossed the stage before friends, family members, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on Saturday. Manchin was in town 10 years after issuing a challenge to the school as Secretary of State to get all eligible high school voters to the polls. It’s a program they not only met, but exceeded.

A decade has passed and Manchin has risen from the Secretary of State office, to Capitol Hill where he serves our state as a junior Senator. While he continued to grow politically, the school he once challenged continued to meet the call. In fact, the school is the only in our state to successfully have each eligible voter head to the poll for the past 10 years. It’s believed to be the only school to have such a record in the state. Recently, Manchin gave a statement in Congress congratulating the school, putting it into the Congressional records for the rest of time.

“It’s unbelievable to have this type of record, and that’s why I wanted to come personally and say, ‘Thank you,” said Manchin.

Manchin said a lot has changed since he sat at his High School graduation ceremony.

“It was a different world than what we’re in now,” said Manchin. “They have the world at their fingertips but the world is competing with them for everything they want: a quality life, a quality job. They’ll have to be better than we ever though about being.”

It’s the newest challenge for these graduating seniors. The Senator says he believes they’ll be the greatest generation this country has ever seen. From the podium he reiterated those statements as all the graduates listened.

“You have to take yourself to the next level,” said Manchin as his voice echoed over a loudspeaker in a packed gymnasium. “I don’t care what you do, but I can tell you one thing. You can never quit learning.”

By:  Matthew Smith