Steven Gering may be a world traveler, but he'll always remember his year as a Mohonasen student.
The German exchange student's time in Rotterdam came to an end when he crossed the stage at Proctors and received his diploma at the school's 49th commencement exercises on Saturday, June 28,
But unlike his American classmates, Gering's career as a high school student is far from over.
This summer, Gering will head to Paris to participate in another exchange program, and in the fall he will return to his native Germany to complete three more years of high school.
It's not like it is in America, said Gering, who speaks flawless English along with five other languages. "I've still got several years before I got to a university."
Gering said his time in America has convinced him that he wants to pursue a career as an English teacher.
At Mohonasen, the charismatic Gering made friends quickly and immersed himself in extracurricular activities. He landed a role in the school's spring production of "The Music Man" and volunteered at several school functions, including the annual Senior Prom for Rotterdam senior citizens.
"I'll miss all of my friends here," he said.
Gering's sentiments were not unlike those of the other 265 members of the class of 2008. The crowd of graduates in their black and orange gowns recognized the bittersweet nature of the occasion, which simultaneously marks the end of high school and the beginning of life in higher education or a career.
"Today is the day our lives have been prepped for," said graduate Brett Daniel French in his welcoming remarks. "We are no longer the future, we are the present."
Superintendent Kathleen Spring told students to "ride the wave of change" that follows high school graduation.
"It's a time of change, challenge and opportunity," said Spring.