If moving the ceremony indoors disappointed members of the graduating class of the Oley Valley High School, you’d never know it by the looks on the faces of the 131 seniors who filed into the school’s gymnasium on June 11.
Energized and enthusiastic, the group, forced to move their ceremony indoors after their outdoor ceremony fell victim to threatening skies, smiled and otherwise hammed it up for their parents’ cameras, clearly ready to receive their diplomas and reflect upon their journey through the school’s hallowed halls.
Linked with the motto, “We will always be that class,” class vice president Brandi Vallely told the audience that the group had a sly side and managed to turn Principal Darrell Markley’s hair “even whiter.”
Valedictorian Jacob Hartz, a member of the school’s cross-country team, urged classmates to set high goals in his speeach “Stay on Par.”
“...Have no fear in working to accomplish those goals,” said Hartz. “A goal is not something somebody else sets for you; you must set goals on your own.”
And alumni speaker David Roland, introduced by his daughter, senior class treasurer Hannah Roland, told the group what it was like to graduate in 1980 when the internet hadn’t even been invented.
“There were no cell phones,” Roland chuckled, and “gas was $1.03 a gallon, a movie ticket, $2.75. “Change,” he said, “is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react.”
Among the top students in Oley Valley’s graduating class addressing their classmates was Salutatorian Susan W. Ambrose and Third Honors Craig M. Eidle.
“The Class of 2014, our 108th graduating class, has distinguished themselves by their community advocacy, strong leadership skills, and a true compassion for each other. I truly believe that each of the graduating seniors will pave a road of success that will lead them to personal achievements that Oley Valley High School will always be proud of. We will miss our graduating seniors, and wish them all the best!” said Markley.
With five sets of twins in the graduating class, including his own two sons, school board president Stephen Burns urged graduates to continue supporting one another and to seek happiness over wealth. “Success is really about being happy,” he said. “Money isn’t everything.”
After dutifully and patiently waiting in line to receive their diplomas, the group sat for one more tradition, the passing of the mantle to 2015 class president Julianna Pierdomenico, before giving a ritualistic toss of their caps and tassles, their new journey in life now begun.