Twin Valley High School’s 2017 graduating class processed at Alvernia University into a room filled to the rafters with Moms, Dads, family and friends to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance on June 10.
“As we move on from Twin Valley and continue forward into our future, we must remember where we come from and the people that have allowed us to get where we are going,” said Valedictorian Anthony Troupe. “If the plethora of Hallmark cards I have been perusing for advice over the past few weeks have taught me anything, it’s success is rooted in the appreciation and gratitude we express to others. To bring a dream and passion to fruition we depend on the help and support of others. Never forget to thank these people. Congratulations to the Class of 2017.”
Co-Salutatorians Matthew Coppello and Michael DiGiacomo welcomed those assembled.
“Friendship is the most important, meaningful and quintessential thing that tells everything about our success,” said Coppello. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. We know the ins and outs of each other. The rarest is the friendship made along the way. Live while you’re young. Thanks for the memories.”
DiGiacomo followed, saying, “A common theme is change. Who do I listen to? Use your own intuition to decipher which course of action to take. Every second, we are faced with change, like seconds on a watch. The internal or external can always be changed. The definition of success is limitless; be the best version of yourself.”
The Senior Chorus filled the stage and led the assembly, hands over hearts, singing the National Anthem.
High School Principal Bill Clements addressed the success of the Class of 2017 as unmatched in its service to the community through hard work and philanthropy.
“Our Blood Drive saved 12,000 lives, students wearing red cords participated; we raised $20,000 for Four Diamonds Cancer Research; Mr. Twin Valley raised $3,000 to donate to Veterans Making a Difference and 2,100 items were donated to our troops.”
He talked about the success of internships, 11 students joining the U.S. Armed Forces, 33 students joining the work force and $5 million in scholarship money granted to graduates.
Clements closed saying, “I challenge you to live a life of honesty and integrity as you transition to the next phase of your life. In doing so, you will find any missteps you may make easier to recover from and all achievements that much sweeter.”
Class President Maria Dioguard said, “What is Twin Valley? It is the people, the staff, the administration, the clubs, the athletes, the students, the teachers. As we move forward, our actions will define us. Everyone needs to believe in themselves. Don’t forget the little school on the hill that has shaped you.”
Twin Valley Superintendent Dr. Robert Pleis challenged them to find their passion saying, “Reflect on success. Success doesn’t happen by chance it is a choice. Follow your dreams. Find your passion. Ask yourself what do I love? What keeps me excited? Take a chance. The game is not over until you stop playing the game.”
His passion is education.
“I enjoyed watching your confidence grow. I want you to know how proud I am of you.”
Quoting Joe Plumeri in 2011 at the College of William and Mary, he said, “You can Google for an answer. You can Google for a mate. You can Google for a career. But you can’t Google to find what’s in your heart, the passion that lifts you skyward.”
Michael DiGiacomo, class treasurer, and Kelly Loughery, class secretary, gave a witty introduction of themselves and a presentation of the class gift.
“The lobby of the school is like the Schuylkill Expressway,” said DiGiacomo, “The Class of 2017 is adding an LED sign board to the lobby to announce events.”
Class Speaker Juliana Beauvais changed the mood. Quoting Mark Twain, she addressed that one thing in life that can make all the difference, “Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Part of being kind is being kind to yourself. Every moment, we send messages. The butterfly effect is the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences.”
She continued with her speech, “Think before you speak; do not judge. Be selfless and understanding and above anything else be kind.”
Katlin Kelley, class vice president, said, “Never give up, I’ve learned that I am so much better for not giving up.” She added, “Twin Valley has given you two tools, get out there and keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” quoting Machiavelli.
“The school board is here to provide the most opportunities we can within our fiscal responsibilities. We wish to thank the parents, the community and Alvernia for bringing us to this day,” said school board President Gary McEwen.
“One seventh of your life is spent in school. I encourage you to stay in touch with the school and friends through social media. Come to the class reunions. At first, they may not seem important but they will over the years,” he said.
In closing, he said, “Go out and make your mark. Set your goals high and have fun.”
As the graduates filed across the stage to receive their diplomas the ceremony was joyous with hoots, hollers and clapping. As individual names were announced proud parents beamed, some with tears in their eyes.
One happy family included parents Eric and Ellen Kuhn along with their children and grandmother Marie Kuhn. They made memories today watching their triplets, Marissa, Bekah, and Kristin cross the stage and walk down the ramp with their new diplomas in hand. Beside them was Pranjal Satija of Hazelton beaming while clutching red roses in his hands to give to his girlfriend Marissa Kuhn.
“It is wonderful!” said the grandmother.
Seated nearby, Eleanor Doller from North Wales said, “This is my 14th grandchild to graduate,” watching Tanner Norton take his proud walk for his diploma.
Soon it was tassels moving and hats flying high as spirits soared with the passion that lifts you skyward.