SOUTH BEND— For the first year, Concord High School’s graduating seniors formed a sea of green inside the University of Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion for commencement on Thursday night.

Seated in chairs lining the floor of the pavilion, it was a time to reminisce on their high school journey while celebrating one of the biggest milestones of their young lives.

Concord High School sent off 376 graduates at the ceremony.

The valedictorian was Josh Peacock and the salutatorians were Sean Butler and Erin Greising

During the ceremony, the seniors were offered words of encouragement from students and teachers alike as they prepare to head into the world and embark on their individual endeavors.

In his speech, Peacock told his classmates that change is necessary for growth and that many things will change for them after they walk across the stage.

“No longer will this be our home,” Peacock said of Concord. “We’ll be on the path to excellence to fulfillment and to being a force of good in the world. But we must never forget the memories that we shared at Concord.”

He reminded the classmates of the changes and firsts they experienced through their high school career.

“The Concord High School Class of 2019 is the first class to have graduated after the implementation of one-to-one technological learning, we’ve had three principals throughout our high school career and most importantly, we’ve had the privilege of being the first class to graduate at this wonderful facility at the University of Notre Dame."

“Together, this class has become stronger and has shown persistence in the face of new challenges and opportunities,” he continued. “We’ve made it through lots of snow days, flood days and even landfill fire days.”

Whether their next plans include entering the workforce, the military, a trade or vocational school or a two or four-year educational institution, Peacock told the students that they’re prepared.

He concluded his speech by challenging his classmates to always keep in mind how their actions and choices will impact themselves and others in the future.

Quoting George Bernard Shaw, Peacock said, “Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

“Our passions cannot be unlocked by just discovering,” he continued. “Seniors, we must all act on what truly motivates us to greatness. Things are changing for us, but they are definitely changing for the better. Embrace the change and have confidence in all your ability to succeed. You’ll do great things Concord Class of 2019. Congratulations.”

Concord High School math teacher Joe Wharton served as this year’s faculty speaker. He was elected by the senior class.

In his address, Wharton told the graduating seniors that they were the first class to help him realize why he got into teaching.

“My teaching mentality changed from middle school to high school because of you,” he told the students. “I’ve had many of you in class throughout your life here and I’m grateful that I’m here spending this historic day with you.”

He encouraged the students to dream big, work hard and take chances.

“Try to learn something new each day,” he told the students. “Put in the hard work to become great and help others achieve the impossible. In today’s ever-evolving world, there is no end to the power of giving. Tomorrow marks the first day of the rest of your lives. Now ask yourself, how you will strive for greatness.”

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