With the sun prominent in the sky and geese flocking intermittently overhead, Schuylkill Valley High School bid farewell to its 146 member class of 2014 in a stadium commencement ceremony in the evening on June 6.
The class proceeded onto the field to “Pomp and Circumstance”, an Elgar/Grundman composition performed by the High School Concert Band.
Salutatorian Shyanne Salen’s speech commenced the ceremony.
“Good evening faculty, family, friends, fellow classmates and everyone who came to bid our graduating class farewell,” she said. “Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to address the Class of 2014 today. I am truly honored to be the salutatorian of the class. When writing this speech, the first thing I wondered was, ‘What is a salutatorian?’”
She continued, “So I Googled it. According to Wikipedia, which is the site for homework, answers and other useless information, a salutatorian is a student who traditionally speaks first. After reading this, I was incredibly nervous, but then I realized Tyler Rosenberger will be speaking after me. So I’ll be fine. Because by the time Tyler’s finished, you will all forget about my speech. Break a leg, Rosey!”
She went on to note that, “Although this is a great honor, I did not think I would be speaking here today. I truly believed my cousin Reese would overtake me at the last minute. Literally, the last minute.”
The two Salens and Rosenberger comprise three of the six Summa Cum Laude (4-year G.P.A. of 4.0 or higher) graduates of Schuylkill Valley.
Salen said, “We did not know who would be giving this speech until Wednesday afternoon. Succumbing to procrastination, neither of us planned on writing until then. When I started writing my speech two days ago I was really terrified, and still am now. Despite the normal graduation fears of tripping, having your hat fall off or having your name mispronounced, I was bombarded with new fears. I was afraid of a faulty sound system. I was afraid of not being able to see above the podium. Luckily, Mrs. Cammauf even gave me a four-inch platform to stand on so you can actually see me. From that standpoint…”
She paused as laughter rippled through the crowd in the stands.
“Most of all, I was and still am terrified to be speaking among all of you today. Public Speaking is considered the number one fear in America, even over death. Since dying is not an option, here I am.”
And there, too, was the class of 2014 beside her, sitting behind a row of potted plants and donning red and black caps and gowns.
Rosenberger started his speech by thanking the faculty of Schuylkill Valley.
“My classmates and I have been privileged to have such an amazing staff helping us along the way,” he said.
Later in his speech, he said, “High school’s been one giant learning experience, our own construction project, building ourselves in the process day after day.”
He concluded his speech by saying, “As we part here tonight, let us not think about commencement as the end of the best times of our lives. Rather, let us wake up tomorrow knowing that life is just about to truly begin. Our tickets have been punched, it’s time to move on and reach for success. Congratulations Schuylkill Valley class of 2014. Thank you.”