DELAWARE VALLEY - Friday evening over 300 Delaware Valley High School students readied for their futures. The possibility of graduation being postponed remained a concern throughout the day, as the weather was dreary and rain appeared possible. But once able, family and friends filled the stands and cheered when Valedictorian Jacob Lockwood joked about students painting the “17” on the mountain that bears graduation years from as long ago as the early 1990’s.
Senior Class President Matthew Cavallaro told the students that they had left the school better than when they arrived, because of their character. But, their successes would not have happened without good role models.
Student Council President Molly Scollo told the students that they must create their own opportunity, because they will “never hear it knock.” But rather, they must make their “own success by taking risks, facing challenges and taking chances.”
Lockwood said he wanted to say something that would be both meaningful and relatable, so he recalled times when the students had to explain that Delaware Valley is not in the state of Delaware to someone, or why the school had a circular hallway with “trapezoid classrooms.” These instances showed, Lockwood believes that the students had things in common because they went to the same school.
Cavallaro said the students were “extremely lucky” to have gone to the district because the opportunities were “second to none,” as the students were able to find their interests and then learn more through available programs. By pursuing their interests, Cavallaro believes the students were then able to “grow.”
Salutatorian Leah Yost shared a personal story, that taught her the importance of kindness and patience. The students, Yost said should consider how they make people feel, because that is what will be remembered. It is the human interactions that Yost believes “matter,” so people should treat others how they want to be treated.
As the students go on to live their lives, Scollo told them that “with change and creation comes failure.” The failure though, shouldn’t stop them and they should consider how their successes have affected others. With whatever they do in their futures, Scollo said the students should have “purpose.” The teachers in the district, taught her that “everyone is capable of greatness.”
Even though the students were excited to graduate, Lockwood said there would be something they would miss and so, whatever their future has instore, they shouldn’t forget where they grew up and the people that helped them along the way.
Through their time in the school, Cavallaro said the students had been leaders and made their community a “better place.” At the point of graduation, many had likely figured what their next step was, but that isn’t necessarily their permanent “path.” Because adversity will be a part of their lives, the students “must stay positive and refuse to quit because good will come.”
Whatever their interests are, Scollo said the students must have purpose. The teachers in the district, taught her that discipline, respect and passion are “crucial to success.” She concluded by wishing that the students’ lives “be filled with happiness, growth and success.”
Lockwood concluded by congratulating the class and telling them that although their hard work led them to graduation, the reality is that, “Now we get to go work even harder for the rest of our lives.” That ending received great applause and laughter.
With the students graduating, Superintendent Dr. John Bell told them everyone believed they were “ready for the new challenges that lie ahead.” He thanked the parents for sharing their children as the “pleasure has been ours.”
When the pledge of allegiance was delivered, while most stood and recited the patriotic vow, several students turned their back in opposition of one student not being allowed to walk. In an email, Bell said last August the student knew he was “ineligible” to walk because he hadn’t completed the required credits in summer school which was “recommended.”
A few days before graduation a petition was created on Change.org and had received over 2,000 signatures asking that the student be able to walk. Bell said the petition missed some “key facts” and had “many inaccuracies.” Although the student did graduate, Bell said it didn’t look probable a few weeks ago and so, he was “thrilled” with how hard the staff worked to help him graduate, showing that “no good deed goes unpunished.”