Loyalsock sends off class of 2021
The Loyalsock Area High School celebrated the “Euphoria” of graduating 101 seniors late last week.
Administrators and teachers filed into Loyalsock High School’s football stadium welcomed by parents, friends and loved ones ahead of the arrival of the class of 2021 last Friday night.
“The phrase ‘we are one’ has never been more important,” superintendent Gerald McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin described the graduating seniors as flexible, adjustable, driven, caring and understanding in light of a full academic year of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“The most dangerous word in the English language is tomorrow,” McLaughlin, quoting athlete Angela Myers.
Senior class president Samuel Rosario introduced three student speakers by welcoming the theme of “euphoria.”
“I believe every student has a god-given gift,” Rosario said. “I have no doubt the future will be brighter than the past.”
Valedictorian Cassandra Gee and Salutatorian Grace Boos were joined by Keanu Singh in delivering speeches following Rosario’s introduction. All their speeches paid humble homage to the skills, talents and accomplishments of their classmates by name.
Gee reminisced over the “Nostalgia” of memories such as calling her best friend to see if they were in the same kindergarten class, learning the song “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” and outdoor four-square games during recess.
She remarked that although some memories remain to be reminisced upon, other more embarrassing moments should probably remain in the past, to the laughter of several members of her class.
Singh followed Gee’s speech by describing the exhilarating and “Euphoric” feel of being present at the commencement ceremony.
“Let this overwhelming instance excite us, but relax us,” Singh said. “Loyalsock has created a home for people to find their talents.”
Finally, Boos filed a “Compendia” imploring the class of 2021 to enjoy the moment of graduation. She said her peers are gifted, intelligent, bold and much more.
“I implore you all to be simultaneously terrified and excited for the next part of our lives,” Boos said. “Do not be ambivalent. Be bold.”
Mike Gaetano, a member of The Hartman Group insurance agency, delivered the commencement address. He offered four tips for the graduates moving forward.
“Helping others must be your foundation. Don’t silo yourself. Be more selfless, and less selfish. Please, take care of others,” Gaetano said.
“Have gratitude. Don’t forget the liberty and democracy with which we are blessed,” Gaetano said. “Also, be a better listener than a talker.”
Finally, Gaetano preached what may well be a well-learned lesson from the pandemic: To lean into “it”.
“Fight! Pick yourself up and view your challenges as opportunities. It’s all about attitude,” Gaetano said. “Success isn’t just what people see–it is hard, but it is worth it. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
Brennan Hepler, a 2015 alumnus of Loyalsock High School who went on to perform in American Idol, could not make the commencement ceremony. However, he “Zoomed” into the event to encourage graduates to continue working hard.
Hepler conferred the “first” diploma to graduates by throwing a rolled paper onto the screen, after which a t-shirt cannon set up by a member of the faculty fired a physical diploma over the heads of the graduates and into one’s lap.
As a class gift back to their alma mater, the graduating class organized the Class of 2021 scholarship to be gifted by the faculty to a student who showed resilience through adversity–a theme of their final academic year.
The three to ten performing students were, in alphabetical order: Jacob Daniels, Alyssa Graver, Adelyn Mayer, Summer McNulty, Kaitlyn Savidge, Singh, Aspen Stahl-Emig, Abigail Wescott.