The Bethlehem Eagles have left the nest

During the Bethlehem Central High School Symphony Orchestra's rendition of "Fiddler's Fury" and the Choraliers' performance of "Like An Eagle," several colorful beach balls appeared in the block of nearly 400 students in the center of the arena as graduates kept them afloat by hitting them back in forth. Spectators laughed and cheered as they bounced around, and would boo loudly when the balls landed on the sidelines and were snagged and taken away by teachers and administrators.

A 1980 graduate of Bethlehem High also took the stage that day. Bethlehem police detective Bruce Oliver was inducted into the Bethlehem Central High School Alumni Hall of Fame.

Oliver, who was been the high school's resource officer since 1999, was inducted by Scott Landry, the Hall of Fame's committee chairman and assistant high school principal.

"Bruce Oliver's pride in, and loyalty to, the town he grew up in resonated with the Hall of Fame committee," Landry said in a release. "It was noted by many that wherever Bruce is, and whatever role he is in at the time, when both students and adults approach him, he makes them feel important."

Oliver joined the Bethlehem Police Department in 1986 and was promoted to detective in 2003. He is the seventh Bethlehem graduate to be inducted to the Hall of Fame since the district created it in 2004.

Retiring Superintendent Les Loomis congratulated the class during his last commencement speech in the district, saying he, too, was graduating with the Class of 2008.

"I want to thank the community for the opportunity to serve as your superintendent for the past 21 years," Loomis told the roaring crowd.

Michael Tebbano is the district's new superintendent.

Bethlehem Board of Education President James Lytle, who acknowledged Loomis' departure, delivered the keynote address.

"Let me first of all acknowledge Dr. Loomis' retirement after 21 years. Being superintendent can be about the hardest, most thankless, and challenging job at least this side of managing the New York Mets," Lytle said. "It's been said that the superintendent accomplishes anything, if you make decisions at all, you're probably alienating or aggravating at least 5 percent of the community every week. You do that for 21-plus years -- you do the math."

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