More than 180 students graduated from Saucon Valley High School Friday night in a memorable ceremony that was punctuated with much laughter and a few tears.
The ceremony was noteworthy for being superintendent Monica McHale-Small’s first since she arrived at Saucon last summer, and she reminisced on her first impressions of the school district, which she called an exceptionally nice place.
It was also noteworthy for who wasn’t there.
Jose Angel Mojica–a Saucon student who died two years ago from acute lymphoblastic leukemia–would have graduated with the Class of 2015 had he lived.
In recognition of that fact, Mojica’s parents were presented with his diploma, and principal Eric Kahler commented that all the members of the senior class had signed a yearbook that would also be given to them.
“Angel had many dreams. He wanted to make a difference,” recalled Kahler, who noted that his former pupil was an animal-lover who hoped to become a veterinarian.
Mojica’s parents received a standing ovation when they tearfully accepted the diploma on their late son’s behalf, after Kahler said that “Angel will always be a member of the Class of 2015.”
Another highlight of the ceremony was the showing of a video in place of a speech.
The video–which traced the lives of the graduating class–was produced by co-salutatorians Allen Meadows and Kelsy Lysek, and also drew a standing ovation from the crowd that packed the Saucon Valley High School auditorium. It can be viewed on YouTube.
Faculty speaker Jeremy Kittek drew laughs when he performed some dance moves across the stage in the middle of his speech, and class president Christopher Magan started off his remarks with humor by snapping a quick selfie with the graduating class behind him.
Significant athletic and artistic achievements by the Class of 2015 were highlighted, as was its commitment to giving back to the community with events such as its MiniTHON. That event raised more than $20,000 for pediatric cancer research, Kahler noted.
In his commencement address, valedictorian Matthew Cherry extensively quoted “The Last Lecture” author and speaker Randy Pausch, whose famous speech delivered after a terminal cancer diagnosis has inspired millions.
“We must start asking ourselves: ‘How do we wish to lead our lives?'” said Cherry.
“It is our responsibility to not waste our youth and to live up to our potential,” he told his peers. “Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Congratulations to the Saucon Valley Class of 2015.
Photos by Josh Popichak