Loyalsock Township among schools sending graduates into world

Years of hard work culminated in a simple movement – the movement of a tassel from right to left. When those 104 tassels moved, 104 Loyalsock Township graduates left their high school days behind.

The bleachers were packed at Kenneth M. Robbins Stadium as friends and family members of the Loyalsock class of 2014 crowded together to watch.

The theme for the evening was “Tabula Rasa,” which class president Leah Nason explained to the crowd equated to blank slate. The blank slate on which the graduates could write the stories of their futures.

The ceremony began with welcome by Dr. Matthew Reitz, the principal. Reitz took a moment to recognize the 70th anniversary of D-Day with a moment of silence. Reitz also recognized graduating seniors who will join the armed services: Jerry Webb who will serve in the United States Air Force; Bailey Rohorer who will serve in the Pennsylvania National Guard; and Jonathan Hunsinger who will serve in the United States Marine Corps.

Student presentations were given by Nason, who explained the beginnings of the classes “blank slate;” Mark Ordorizzi, who explained the tools the students used to craft their slate; and Laura Pineda-Bermudez, who explained the work that remained for the slate.

For Nason, the beginnings of the class of 2014 blank slate was a foundation. She also encouraged her classmates to build on that foundation without fear of failure.

“It’s a foundation to build and grow,” Nason said. “If you live your life in fear of losing face, what kind of life is that? Mark your slate before you have to wipe it clean.”

For Ordorizzi’s section of the presentation he began by contrasting the tools that he uses everyday, such as his iPad, to the tools he used to “mark” his slate. He also shared that no matter where the members of the class went, what future tools they discovered, they would always have the tools they shared as members of the Loyalsock class of 2014.

“We can all trace back to this one place and this one time,” Ordorizzi said. “Teachers, friends and family, they were the tools that we used to mark our tabula rasa.”

Pineda-Bermudez concluded the presentation by encouraging her classmates to never stop growing and developing their tabula rasa.

“Today we are lightly layered slates but in the future we will be masterpieces,” Pienda-Bermudez explained.

The commencement address was delivered by Larry Wahl, vice president of the communications and community outreach for the Orange Bowl Committee and a class of 1971 Loyalsock Township graduate.

Wahl explained his journey through high school and college, and later his internship with the New York Jets, which led to a career he said most men and women would give their left arms for.

“At 17 or 18 you’re not supposed to know what the future holds,” Wahl said. “Be willing to take on any task with a smile and it will be rewarded. Tonight is rightly called commencement because it is a time when something begins, not ends.”

The theatrical delivery of the first diploma has been a tradition at Loyalsock Township graduation. Friday’s ceremony was no exception. The theme from Star Wars rang across Kenneth Robbins Stadium as a hexacopter descended with the diploma in tow.

Sheila Yates, president of the school board, and Gerald McLaughlin, superintendent, assisted Reitz in the bestowal of diplomas as class adviser Rebecca Leid read the graduates names.

For Leid watching the class graduate was a moment of reflection. She began her teaching career at the district the same time as the class of 2014 started their high school career.

“This was my first class. It was nice seeing them grow up as I grew into my role,” Leid said.

She also had some words of advice for the class.

“Take your time, be patient, let life come to you,” Leid said smiling as she watched graduates greet their families at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The moment was also one of reflection for graduate Nick DiFrancesco. He recognized the hard work of all his teachers and the support of his family.

“It was a fun four years,” DeFrancesco said grinning, as his sister rushed onto the field to hug him.

DeFrancesco and his classmates have spent the past four years having fun, working hard and making memories but now they are excited to begin their foray into the future with a blank slate – to create works of art from their very own tabula rasas.