Valedictorian tells Fleetwood grads, ‘Stay true to yourself’

Fleetwood Class of 2018 Salutatorian Michael Wojciechowski, Co-Presidents Sebastian Kukielka and Joseph Moyer, and Outstanding BCTC Student Tom Hegedus.
Fleetwood Class of 2018 Salutatorian Michael Wojciechowski, Co-Presidents Sebastian Kukielka and Joseph Moyer, and Outstanding BCTC Student Tom Hegedus. Jesi Yost - Digital First Media
Fleetwood Class of 2018 Valedictorian Adam Badinger ended his speech by imploring the grads to “Stay true to yourself.”
Fleetwood Class of 2018 Valedictorian Adam Badinger ended his speech by imploring the grads to “Stay true to yourself.” Jesi Yost - Digital First Media

Kutztown University’s Keystone Hall was filled with friends and family on June 5 for Fleetwood Area High School’s commencement.

For the first time, all 198 graduating seniors wore red gowns. Previously, Fleetwood girls wore white gowns and the boys, red.

The ceremony began with a moment of silence for classmate, Kiley Steward who passed away August 28, 2016.

Co-President Sebastian Kukielka took a trip down memory lane. During his speech, he recalled riding the bus to elementary school and middle school dances.

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Co-President Joseph Moyer said it was a day of firsts - first time graduating, first time opening a bank account and the first time shining his shoes. He ended his speech with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Valedictorian Adam Badinger, who will be attending Penn State Berks, echoed Joseph Moyer and said the “One word that comes to mind is First.” Badinger remembered crying when leaving his Mom on the first day of Kindergarten.

He said, “You never know what life is going to give you,” and recalled a time when he ordered a plain hamburger at Johnny Rockets and receiving only the patty - no bun.

He ended his speech by imploring the grads to “Stay true to yourself.”

Salutatorian Michael Wojciechowski quoted the Urban Dictionary, “Salutatorian - The person who has the second highest GPA as of the freeze date per the student handbook.”

Wojciechowski ended his speech with a Steve Jobs quote, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Outstanding BCTC Student, Tom Hegedus urged “Class of 2018, never give up.”

Fleetwood Superintendent Dr. Greg M. Miller encouraged the graduates to reflect on their class motto by Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”

His parting advice to the class, “Dream big and work tirelessly.”

Graduation was followed by Fleetwood’s ‘Safe’ grad party, 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., which was a lock-in celebration at Ozzy’s.