Dear Class of 2018: Advice from the Saline High School Class of 1968

 06/22/2018 - 01:40

Dear SHS Class of 2018:

We want to welcome you to a pretty exclusive group. This year, you join a fine group of people fondly known as Saline High School alumni. You are set to begin your journey as we enter the sixth decade of ours. Though we have never met most of you, we want you to know that we have learned some things along our journey that we want to share with you, in the hopes that you can enjoy your lives the way that we have enjoyed ours.

One thing about the Class of ’68 is that we have formed solid, close friendships with one another even though we did not all know each other while in high school. Many of these friendships, while developed later in life, form a fabric of mutual support that is essential as we face the many challenges that come as we grow older. There is a verse in an old classic by the group Alabama that best describes our bond.

“When life held troubled times, and had me down on my knees

There’s always been someone, to come along and comfort me

A kind word from a stranger, to lend a helping hand

A phone call from a friend, just to say I understand

Now ain’t it kind of funny, at the dark end of the road

Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope.”

As the sign reads in the commons area at Saline High School, “ONCE A HORNET, ALWAYS A HORNET”, we will always be a Hornet, like you.

We have found that each of us has been guided by key life lessons learned through living. We give these to you at the start of your journey in the belief that someday they might provide you a ray of hope when you find yourself at the dark end of the road.

Class of 1968

“My advice to the Class of 2018 is although college is great do not ever believe it is the “only” way. You can get a huge education in the world around you. Try experiencing things you never

imagined before. Above all, TRAVEL. See as much as you can in this world. Do what you love. You have one shot at life. Don’t waste it.”

-April (Beach) Pronk


“My advice to the Class of 2018 is that you work hard but always like what you do. And always remember, that even if you graduate from college, you still have to start at the bottom and work your way up.”

-Cecilie Robison


“My advice for 2018 SHS graduates is simple: To thine own self, be true. Figure out what makes you happy, excited, thrilled, satisfied and then pursue that passion with all the vim and vigor you can. All work is honorable. If you decided that you are happy working at a simple job, be the very best simple job person you can be. If you are happy being a stay at home dad, then be the very best stay at home dad you can. It is my belief that if you have that attitude, no matter what you tackle, you will have a heck of ride in life. Attitude is almost everything and in any situation is probably one of the most powerful tools you will ever have to cope, survive, enjoy, experience whatever lies ahead for you. Life holds no guarantees for anyone. You do not know how long you are going to live, so please choose wisely what you do with your time.”

-William “Bill” Hill

“My advice to the SHS Class of 2018: Keep active in both body & mind. You only have a few years left to enjoy family and friends, so my advice is to live life like you’re dying. I want/need to thank the city of Saline and my classmates for the best childhood I could have ever had!!!”

-David Johnson

“My advice to SHS 2018 graduates is to be who you are not what others want you to be. Don’t stop learning and live life to its fullest. Cherish the friendships you have now and the friendships you make as your life continues. You know, I am trying to live by my own advice to today’s graduates.”

-Celeste Klein

“My advice to the Class of 2018 is to discover what you love to do and make an occupation of it. Whatever you do, strive every day to do and be the best that you can.”

-Suzanne (Hollenback) Hill


“My advice to the Class of 2018 is to understand that the world is a big place with endless possibilities! Follow your passions and dreams because if you are willing to work and sacrifice for them, nothing is impossible.”

-Sharon (Burkhardt) Mischakoff

“My advice to graduating class: Always follow your dreams. Develop your skills, your contacts and always do the best you can. If you have a passion for something, go for it. Don’t be afraid to get a job to support yourself while developing your skills for what you'd love to really do. Owning a business is rewarding but also a lot of really hard work and at times uncertainty. But do what you love.”

-Amy (Sanders) Shankleton-Novess

“My advice to the Class of 2018 is to understand that life is very short, so treat it with respect. Family is important – spend time with them and support them. Set goals. Be kind to others. Don’t sweat the small stuff; everything works out the way it is supposed to.”

-Phyllis (Alexander) Miller



“My advice to the graduating class: Remember, you can do it. Whatever you want to do with your life, you can make it happen.”

-David Blinn



“My advice to the Class of 2018 is to go to college and get more education as there is a huge world of ideas and people out there to discover. Ask questions, volunteer and work smart. Step out of your comfort zone, travel, stay healthy, eat right, stay active with body and mind and don’t become a couch potato by watching too much TV, playing video games, and getting lost into too much social media. Contribute to society by using your gifts and talents/or finding out what they are. Plan down time, take vacations and plan them, make time for relaxation, meditating and planning, that’s where ideas and creativity incubate.”

-Janet Kohler

“My advice to the 2018 graduating class is expose yourselves to everything that you can. Visit other countries. Be exposed to other cultures. Do not be afraid to change jobs, if you are unhappy. Live in different areas. Try new and different activities. Open your eyes to what is going on around the other countries of the world... economically, politically, culturally. For the first 10 years after high school, I did none of these things. But found that experiencing more, one can understand themselves better and have more of an appreciation of life in general. One can learn more in one year of exposing themselves to countries, cultures, and different activities, than they can learn in any type of structured schooling.”

-Tom Mann

“Here is my advice for the graduating class of 2018. Look at the world outside of high school. Listen to your parent’s advice. Set goals and evaluate them each decade. Life flies by faster than the speed of light. You will turn 30, 40, 50 and then 60! You will celebrate and rejoice in your freedom from school and independence as adults. You will face challenges including drugs and drinking. Make the healthy decisions for your life’s journey. Your youth will pass in the blink of an eye. Live a healthy life, exercise and follow a healthful diet; your body will serve you well when you are older. Otherwise you will succumb to chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes which will shorten your life and cause misery. Choose your life work as something you love doing every day and you will be happy. Give to others less fortunate, love your family and always keep them close. Enjoy life and save the world. Find a solution to global warming, end senseless wars or explore other planets. You can achieve whatever you determine using your energy and your educational tools.”

-Mary Beth (Danneffel) Mandlekorn

“My advice to the graduating class of 2018 is to enjoy every minute, life is too short.”

-Eleanor (Feldkamp) Beitelshees


“What is my advice to the graduates of SHS in 2018? They won't like this but here goes: work hard, do your job right, save all the money you can and stay away from drugs and alcohol. This has worked for us.”

-Randy Haas


“This is my advice to each of you. Pursue faith. Don’t get too hung up on religion which has good qualities but too often substitutes itself for the privilege of a walk with God. Only the Christian faith has a God who has reached out to man offering fellowship, direction, peace of mind, forgiveness, an eternity with him and more. If this sounds too vague, try praying to this God you don’t know yet and let him find you!”

- Donna (Murray) Tillinghast Heilmann

“Get to know God and stay close to Him. Don't sweat the small stuff - overlook the insignificant matters. Forgive easily and be quick to say you're sorry. Live a life full of love and reach out with your whole heart. Be kind and giving and be thankful every day for all that you have. Live life fully and gratefully.”

-Terri Hand


“My advice to the graduating class is to resist all labels, they're hard to remove.”

-David Katz


“Take a moment to look around at your family and friends surrounding you at this time. In your life journey you will have many choices and decisions. Try not to "burn any bridges" --- the friends and family you have now may offer you help along the way and fifty years from now, you may be surprised at who you have helping you then. I wish God's peace and blessings to each of you, your family and friends.”

-Jackie (Leonard) Rowe



“My advice to young people would be much as that which I received from my parents. It’s really pretty simple. Find your passion, hone your natural talents and interests wherever and whatever they are, and pursue them into your life after graduation from high school. If you do that, the likelihood is that you will excel and be settled and happy throughout your adult years.”

-Brian Clay Collins


“My advice to the Class of 2018, you don’t necessarily need a college education to have a good life. Hard work won't kill you and I'm in good shape for the next chapter of my life. I'll be going with the flow. I think that's what I would want kids to know. You must have a dream to keep moving forward. Then too, your dreams will change. That's OK. Eventually, you will do what makes you happy. Try to do at least one constructive thing every day. You can do more, but, do at least one! And be thankful for all you have even if it's all your fingers and toes, or you got out of bed. Being thankful reminds you that things could be Oh, So Much Worse!

-Dennis Macdonald



“My advice to the graduating class of 2018 is to understand that graduation from high school is but a chapter in one's book of life. It may have been good-bad, happy-sad but all teachable moments. Home schooling for 16 years has taught me that learning/education is an everyday opportunity. Try to look at each day as a classroom, it is amazing. Have a Servant's heart, reach outside your comfort zone and serve others. It broadens your base of understanding and you become grateful. Find a faith worth dying for, it teaches you the depth of love, the breadth of one's weakness and surrender and the freedom of forgiveness. (Jeremiah 29:11..."For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." I always had a sense throughout high school that the Class of '68 was special and unique. It seemed that we breathed success. Was it the combination of our unity and drive to be the best? I don't know. It was just part of us.”

-Nicola (Widmayer) Crumb


 “A message to the SHS class of 2018-If you are truly passionate in what you choose to do in your life, you will always be fulfilled.”

-Karen (Krempel) Underwood Szafarek 



“If in doubt, don’t do it.”

-Cindy (Christner) Niedermier

Steven Sheldon's picture
Steven Sheldon