TOWNSHEND -- When Peter Ginter woke up Saturday morning his thoughts were filled with pride and joy to see his twin children, Eric and Callie, graduate from Leland and Gray.
Both National Honor Society members with two of the highest grade point averages in their class, Peter said he knows Eric and Callie will be amazing at whatever they do.
What Peter didn't know was that Eric, always the joker, had a special surprise for everyone in attendance.
Thomas Russell, the school's physical education teacher, rode to the stage atop a Harley Davidson motorcycle dressed in a tuxedo with camouflage vest and hat he had rented.
"Right now you're probably wondering why I'm dressed in this incognito attire," he said. "I'll get to that in a bit."
Russell said he was honored to be asked to speak and that he wanted to ensure the graduates left without saying they'd rather watch paint dry than listen to him.
He told a story of how a Chinese diplomat, who took part in the Journey East Program, wanted to hire this amazing young dancer and that he and his partner were on the lookout, determined to claim some reward for themselves.
On cue, a group of female students from the program walked to the front of the crowd in gold dresses.
Eric quickly threw off his green robes and joined the women, wearing his own gold dress, before they all broke into the choreographed number they had performed in China.
It wasn't the
"I'm not surprised at all. This it total common place for him," Peter said. "He and Callie are both always trying to make people laugh. I couldn't be more proud of the two of them."
After the hundreds of family members, friends, faculty and staff wiped the tears of laughter from their eyes, Russell continued his speech.
He challenged the students not to be average, to realize their dreams, set goals for themselves, find ways to stay motivated and most importantly to enjoy the process.
"We don't beat the reaper by living long," Russell said. "We beat the reaper by living well and living fully."
Following the theatrics, dozens of scholarships and awards were given to the graduates.
Caleb Bristol, another member of the National Honor Society, was awarded for his educational prowess and artistic ability.
Bristol said he plans to attend Vermont Technical College in the fall to study architectural engineering, something that will always remind him of his classmates.
"We started out as isolated individuals," he said. "But we've really come together as a community and built something strong. I'll miss them greatly."
Josh Stilts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.