Montgomery’s class celebrated for determination, accomplishments

Members of the Montgomery Area High School Class of 2019 watch as their classmates process into the gymnasium at the Montgomery Area Athletic and Community Center for the 115th annual commencement.

MONTGOMERY- Friends and families arrived early bearing gifts of flowers and balloons for the class of 2019 at Montgomery Area High School’s commencement Friday. Sporting their red and white gowns, the class processed into the packed Montgomery Area Athletic and Community Center amid cheers from their fellow classmates.

Calling them the class that “didn’t know when to quit,” Joseph G. Stoudt, high school principal, noted that the class of 2019 pushed things to the limit.

He said this was the class that had cracked the access code for their iPads when they were in junior high and then when a new one was installed, it took them two class periods to crack the second code.

“You may not remember this, I do, your first year of junior high was my year in administration, and back then I had hair,” he told the graduates, pointing to a slide on the screen at the front of the gymnasium. “Look what you’ve done to me,” he joked.

“That being said,” he continued, “the Class of 2019 has also racked up an impressive list of accomplishments.”

He listed the number of graduates who would be moving on to two and four-year programs at colleges or attending vocational-technical programs, and those entering the armed forces and the workforce. In all he listed the entire class.

He enumerated the class’ accomplishments in sports and academics throughout their time at Montgomery and how they had raised over $3,000 for the fight against cancer for kids.

Quoting Sir Edmund Hillary who spoke about looking ahead to the next peak to conquer when he had conquered Mt. Everest, Stoudt entreated the students, “It is my hope that when you have reached the summit of whatever your Everest may be you don’t quit there. Continue to set goals for yourself and strive to make them with same grit and determination that helped you accomplish everything up to this night. Wherever life takes you from here is up to you.”

Featured speaker for the event was Stephen J. DeLullo, retired parole agent with the state board of probation and parole who also taught in the district as a guest teacher before retiring.

“Turn the page, move on, go out there and explore the world,” DeLullo urged the graduates. “Do not take no for an answer. You know you are legally and morally entitled to a yes, but always, always, always be prepared to give no for an answer.”

“Go out and explore the world, test yourself, fulfill your potential. It’s okay to be scared and anxious and afraid. It’s okay to fail,” he said, adding that it’s better to try and fail than feel regret at not trying at all. “Please continue to reach for the stars and fulfill your potential/”

Class Valedictorian Colton S. Barnes and Salutatorian Bailey M. Segraves also spoke about the determination and accomplishments of the class throughout their school years.