The high school's part-time librarian, Stephen Lackmann, said he was surprised when the graduating class confronted him with the opportunity to be the 2014 commencement speaker.
"Nobody has ever asked a librarian to speak at a graduation," Lackmann said. "Secondly, I've only known you since early September."
Lackmann took the job opening at the beginning of the school year. He said students admired his willingness to help since then. Knowing them for only eight months, he said all he had of the 19 graduating seniors was a good first impression.
"Everybody has heard the expression, 'you have one chance to make a first impression.' The seniors really made an impression on me," Lackmann said. "From the first day we met, you were all friendly, you came into the library, we had nice discussions and it grew a little bit as the semester went on."
The University of Albany alumnus said he knows the seniors can't wait to get out of Arlington. "Boy, I've heard that before and my kids say the same thing. Let me tell you this: Wherever you go, bring a little bit of Arlington with you Make that first impression wherever you are going," he said.
Most of the graduating seniors have prospects for higher education or military enlistment. Salutatorian Christopher Daniels said in his address to the senior class that that next step will bring disorder into their lives, but for the better.
"I want to talk abou the second law of thermodynamics: This is a principle that says that any moment, entropy will always increase," Daniels said. "Entropy is the measure of order in a system."
The honors student used an analogy to physics to exemplify the idea that disorder is on the horizon for he and his colleagues. He said the past 18 years of the student's lives were institutionalized and ordered like the pieces of a ceramic vase.
After graduation, Daniels said that vase will break, and each student will head into new directions. But, no matter which direction the students head, Valedictorian Bhumika Patel followed up by saying that they will all take a piece of Arlington with them, and it will help them build new impressions and relationships in new institutions.
"We all have been sculpted by each other, our teachers, families and the community," Patel said. "We've built this unbreakable unity, and as we disburse, these open hearts of ours will endeavour the same unity between us and our surroundings wherever they may be."
The ceremony ended with the presentation of diplomas by AMHS principal Christopher Barnes and the declaration of commencement by school board president Dawn Hoyt.
Contact Tom Momberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg