Mark Taylor
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Marvin Diener, GEHS football coach, will address the Class of 2011 during this year’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 21 at GEHS.
Diener, who was selected by students to speak at graduation, said he will encourage this year’s graduates to take risks in life.
The speech is entitled, “Get in the Game”.
“It is so much better to work hard and be involved in the big arena than to sit on the sidelines and watch,” Diener told the Gardner News.
“I just really believe life can be so great if you are willing to take a risk to fail. When things don’t go right it’s awfully tough, but the risk is so worth the value of the game.”
Diener said his speech was inspired by one of his favorite quotes from Theodore Roosevelt.
“I carry it (the quote) with me all the time,” Diener said. “I am paraphrasing, ‘It is far better and so much more satisfying to experience victory, even though it will be checkered with defeat, than to sit on the sidelines and never know the true joy of winning or pain of failure.”
Diener added, “There is no question there will probably be a football metaphor” in the speech.
He said he was “honored and excited” to have an opportunity to speak at graduation.
“I think one of the real unique things about Gardner Edgerton’s graduation is that the students ask faculty members to deliver the address,” Diener said.  “I have been to four graduations and the speakers have always done a real incredible job, and I hope they can say that after my speech is done.”
Diener – who in the past has gone so far as to ride a motorcycle into a pep rally to get students pumped up – said he plans to bring energy to the graduation ceremony.
“It won’t be a real typical graduation speech,” he said.  “It’s not going to be a pep rally, but the kids expect me to be excited, and I will be.
“They won’t see a motorcycle or a big hamster ball, but I do hope to bring some enthusiasm to the event.”
Diener, who came to GEHS in 2006, has led the ‘Blazers football team to a 45-12 record over five years.
He has led the team to winning seasons each of the last five years and qualified for the state play-offs each of the last four years.
Before coming to GEHS, Diener coached Salina Central for 19 years and racked up six 5A State Championships.
He is one of six coaches in Kansas history to win six state titles and the only coach to win six championships at the 5A level.