LOGANTON — The Sugar Valley Rural Charter School recently sent 36 of their own around the world as they celebrated their 22nd commencement ceremony, at their brand new gymnasium.
On Thursday evening, SVRCS CEO Tracie Kennedy greeted the 36 capped and clothed youths seated below her in the front row of the crowded auditorium.
“Seniors, we’re here to celebrate the commonality you all share. It’s a night to recognize your accomplishments over the past 13 years. Growth comes in many ways. You’ve been successful in your school pursuits, helped others , survived the challenges of your young adulthood and excelled in your studies. You even survived distance education,” Kennedy said.
“I thank all the parents, families and friends of these graduates. You have been an active participant in your child’s education by giving your child the time, patience, and support necessary for a successful education and life. Rosa Parks said, “The memories of our lives, our works and our deeds will live on in others”, “ she continued. “Graduates, the future holds many challenges and successes for all of you. Life is a learning curve. It’s not a test. So spend all the time you need to figure out what you really want. The world will change you in many ways that you wouldn’t expect, but you shouldn’t fight it. Let these changes help you grow. I am convinced that you will be able to meet all the challenges and learn from them. I wish you all the best for the future.
Kennedy left the graduates with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “You have to do the thing that you think you can’t do.”
This year’s graduating class produced not one, but two students who ranked highest in the class, with the exact same GPA, tying them for the coveted Valedictorian spot.
The school made the decision to forgo one Salutatorian and have two valedictorians – Nate Parker and Hailey Erickson.
Nate Parker spoke first, recalling his educational journey and dedication to learning and knowledge, as well as the lessons he learned from friends and peers along the way.
“SVRCS taught me a lot of things, and one of them is patience. I would also like to say that the school taught me not to be satisfied with what you have – not the “never too happy” way, but simply always striving to do more and to do better”, said Parker. “The next thing I would like to touch on is to never run away from difficulties. Without difficulties you will not grow in any way, but at the same time it is also important to remember to take life easy.
Parker acknowledged that his statements could be a bit confusing.
“Some of you may have listened to what I said and said ‘it’s all conflicting points you’re giving, you’re telling me to have patience but also ambition. And yearn for more and at the same time yearn for difficulty. But take the time to relax,” he said. “But the most important thing I’ve learned, and I hope everyone has learned, is balance.”
Parker stressed the importance of finding balance in everything.
“You have to keep everything in balance. Balance is a very important thing to have. It allows you to have ambition, but at the same time still have time for other things in life and enjoy them. he said.
“I would like to thank class 22 because you all taught me a lot,” Parker concluded.
Hailey Erickson then took to the stage, thanking her classmates for creating community and family, and reminiscing about their youth when they couldn’t wait for their school time to go any faster.
“I know many of us couldn’t wait for that day to come, and have even been counting down from day one. I also know others, myself included, who dreaded that sweet day. -bitter “, Erickson said.
She went on to remind her classmates that they have a bright future ahead of them due to the challenges their age group has already faced.
“The Sugar Valley Rural Charter School gave us a wide range of skills, which gave me great confidence. The class of 2022 has what it takes to conquer anything the universe might throw at us, and believe me, I know it will be tough, especially in the world we live in, but our generation has been through so much already. things “, she says.
“An analogy I remember learning in our freshman year was that ‘our classroom is like a nest of baby birds. Graduation is like the flight test. We’re kicked out of the high school nest, and everyone’s gonna watch and see if we’re gonna fly or fall,” Erickson continued. “But now that we have reached graduation, I know that analogy is wrong because we are not an old bird – we are as fierce as the Phoenix and the class of 2022 is ready to rise from the ashes like the Phoenix that we are. ”
The keynote speaker for the evening was Pennsylvania FBLA Executive Director Bruce Boncal. Boncal is the retired former director of technology for the Jersey Shore School District.
“I will start by talking about parents and families. They’ve been with you on this journey, and you might think they’re here because tonight is all about you, but here’s something you need to remember, graduates – this night is important to your parents too. only for you”, said Boncal. “It’s also their degree. Your parents worked very hard to get you to where you are today, and they made a huge investment in you. They took care of your scraped knees, your bloody nose, your your bones broken and had so many scary moments, and they just breathe a sigh of relief that you’re here in person tonight.
“They laughed and they cried and many times they cried when you didn’t even know it had happened. They took care of you and your two terrible and difficult teenagers. They must have lived with you when you thought you knew more than your parents – and every teenager seems to think they know more than their parents. They disciplined you when you were rebellious and wanted to do it your way,” He continued.
“They were your driver and your cook. They were your reading teacher, your music teacher, your scout master. And they were your counselor when you felt there was nothing left in the world when you found the love of your life at 16, only to find that the love of your life found someone else », He continued.
Boncal offered advice on what graduates can do to repay their parents for all they’ve done.
“The greatest graduation gift you can give your parents tonight, graduates, is to just say at some point ‘thank you’ for all they have done. And not just your parents, but your grandparents and all the members of your family,” said Boncal.
He went on to emphasize the importance of community, volunteerism, good choices and second chances.
“Where you go from here is up to you. Your motivation, your drive, your ambition, your work ethic, your goals. If you’re headed to college, you’re going to be faced with a lot of temptations, especially in your social life, that want to take you in different directions. It’s real, and it’s up to you to make your life what it will be for the next 4 years. said Boncal.
He encouraged graduates to make the most of their lives.
“Make the best of it. You will make mistakes, and you will make lots of mistakes, and you will fail. But if you learn from every mistake and every failure you make, you will progress tremendously” , he said. “That’s what failures and mistakes do: foster learning, maturation and growth. Never let fear of failure or fear of mistakes get you down.
“Finally, keep in mind when you make mistakes to take responsibility and don’t blame anyone else. Accept what you’ve done and move on. I believe in second chances and redemption and everyone has the possibility of having a second chance, he said.
Boncal reminded seniors to self-examine from time to time.
“As you go through this life, reflect on what you have done with your life and ask yourself if I have had an impact where I live and the people I have met along the way.” he said.
He ended by thanking the school, thanking their FBLA section and quoting the great Winston Churchill, “We earn our living by what we receive, but we earn our living by what we give.”