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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Class of 2014 WAHS begins next chapter

  • WALLENPAUPACK - The 50th graduating class of Wallenpaupack Area High School celebrated commencement Friday night June 13th. President of the School Board John C. Spall, a member of the WAHS Class of 1964, spoke about the school's history and accomplishments. Class President Rakel Galeano, Valedictorian Benjamin Gendelman, Salutatorian Kayla Ashley each offered remarks.
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  • WALLENPAUPACK - The 50th graduating class of Wallenpaupack Area High School celebrated commencement Friday night June 13th. President of the School Board John C. Spall, a member of the WAHS Class of 1964, spoke about the school's history and accomplishments. Class President Rakel Galeano, Valedictorian Benjamin Gendelman, Salutatorian Kayla Ashley each offered remarks.
        Each year we witness another generation of youth take the bold step into the next chapter of their lives. Like other classes, the Wallenpaupack Class of 2014 were no less joyous when they finished singing the Alma Mater.  A cascade of white and purple caps went flying as the class let out a roar. One  imaginative grad unfolded a big yellow umbrella to deflect the shower of cap mortar boards.
       Held in the gymnasium, the administration and school board were on stage attired in their robes of academia, facing the graduates in their caps and gowns.
        Emily Lanthier and Christian Lewis led the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance. The high school orchestra performed, set up behind the stage.
       Absent this year was the Invocation and Benediction, which since the school was founded was led by an invited member of the local clergy. This practice was discontinued last year after the 2013 graduation, following a Constitutional challenge. No reference to this was made or substitute presented.
         Rakel Galeano welcomed the assembly. She spoke of the academic and athletic accomplishments of  her class, and thanked their administrators, teachers and parents and caregivers.
       Galeano asked for a moment of silence for two of their classmates that had died, Jacob Daniels in the summer of 2013 and Kory Fenstermacher, who died in April 2007 while in fifth grade. Both were victims of motor vehicle accidents.
       She introduced the keynote speaker, attorney John C. Spall.
       As a member of the class of 1964 and long time school board member, Spall spoke of the history of the joining of the Hawley and Newfoundland high schools, and the subsequent progress and growth the Wallenpaupack Area High School and School District has made in a half century. He noted its excellent academic reputation and low tax rates, compared to school districts across Pennsylvania.
       Valedictorian Benjamin Gelderman spoke of the accomplishments of the Class of 2014 and did so with wit and insight. He shared a personal story of being lost one night on a country road, low on gas, a dead cell phone and forced to stop at several houses to try and get directions. While angry at himself for his circumstances that evening, he said it was no so bad getting lost.
    "I acquired experience and won't be so nervous to take the unfamiliar road," he said.
    Page 2 of 2 -    He urged his classmates to set their goals high and aspire to be the next "Bill Gates, Warren Buffett... Dr. Jay Starnes," adding their principal, Dr. Starnes, was the best principal ever.
       "Dreams are just dreams unless you turn them into reality," Gendelman said.  
        Salutatorian Kayla Askey said graduation day was the day they had waited so long and now they must move forward.  She spoke of the darkness of the world, that each could overcome following the light of education. She urged each of them to keep learning for the rest of their lives.
       There were 291 members of the Class of 2014.
        

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