Logan Stevens gave his classmates in the Bel Air High School Class of 2017 one final math lesson at their commencement Tuesday evening, using the fraction 18/72, or one-fourth.
Stevens, one of two student speakers to address the 388-member class gathered on the floor of the APG Federal Credit Union Arena at Harford Community College, noted that fraction represents one fourth of the average person's 72-year lifespan.
"One fourth of our lives are over," he said.
Stevens noted he "cannot help but feel remorseful" about opportunities and life experiences he has missed during that time, which he represented with the form of a spectral being reaching its hand out to him, offering to become a better version of himself.
"I don't take it, not because I don't want to, not because I'm content with the way things are, not because I'm blind to the ways in which I can advance, but because the path he wants me to take is riddled with an incalculable amount of uncertainty and doubt," Stevens said.
He said he knows his classmates "see that same specter, the better version of yourself who haunts your mind relentlessly."
Stevens reminded the Class of 2017 that "the future belongs to you," however, and he is prepared to grab the hand "of my benevolent specter."
"I couldn't ask for a more perfect sunset on the first wonderful fourth of my life," he said.
The second student speaker, Brogan Gerhart, said each person has a book that represents their life, not just a word, sentence, paragraph or chapter.
"Our lives, your life, is a novel in which you are the speaker, the author and the star, and although not everyone might read it, its yours, and it always will be," she said.
Gerhart said the graduates must commit themselves to a purpose, "to a way of living that is nothing short of yours and yours alone."
Joshua Holcomb was introduced as the Class of 2017 valedictorian Tuesday.
He noted the class will take, "as we walk out of these doors," some of the school's best students, athletes, artists and singers.
Holcomb stressed that "we leave behind established footprints" for younger classes, though.
"The future is bright, not only for the Class of 2017, but for all current and future Bel Air Bobcats," he said.
Senior class president Bethany Ingram presented the class gift, a series of banners representing each class going back to 2009 — the first senior class to graduate after the current BAHS building opened that year — banners that will coincide with the many other banners hanging in the school.
She said each banner will have the school crest, the year the class graduated and the senior class' quote.
"We hope the members of the school will cherish this gift as mush as we cherish our years at Bel Air High School," Ingram said.
She noted commencement is a time to celebrate her class' accomplishments over the their time in high school, but also to remember the losses they have experienced "as a Bobcat family."
Ingram cited the death earlier this year of classmate Janette Leanne Gable. She died Nov. 13, 2016, at her home in Bel Air; she was 18 years old, according to her obituary.
"What I've learned is that in life you must be happy, that you must figure out what drives you and go after it with all of your heart," Ingram said.
The graduates also heard Tuesday from the Bel Air High principal, Gregory Komondor, County Councilman — and Bel Air graduate —James McMahan, County Executive Barry Glassman, state Sen. J.B. Jennings, state Del. Susan McComas and Joseph Voskuhl, vice president of the Board of Education and a former BAHS teacher and principal. .
Voskuhl congratulated the graduates on finishing high school, but "starting tomorrow, you will have other mountains to climb."
He said they might encounter people in life who are stronger or smarter, but they will prevail by being the hardest workers.
"Outwork them, get back in the game, and you will win," he said.
Voskuhl reminded the graduates that, "once a member of the Bobcat Nation, you are always a Bobcat, best of luck."
Glassman noted that Tuesday evening's commencement, the final ceremony of this year's Harford County Public Schools high school graduation season, was happening on the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the start of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France during World War II on June 6, 1944.
"Be thankful for all the freedoms that that day represented going forward," he said.