Superintendent Raymond Bernardi reminded 2013 Wyoming Area graduates that, although as graduates they were closing one chapter of their life, they were preparing to write another.
Bernardi, who will himself be starting a new chapter upon his retirement in 2014, challenged the graduates to provide space for “family, friends, and service” in the upcoming story of their lives.
Bernardi spoke at Sobeski Stadium on Friday night in celebration of Wyoming Area’s 47th commencement to graduates clad in gold and green caps and gowns, and their friends and family, many of whom carried balloons and bouquets to present to their graduates, all filled with a special sense of pride.
Graduate Maria Marianacci, who plans to attend Misericordia University, echoed those sentiments as she challenged fellow classmates to reach their potential in the area of academics, family, and career. She also lauded her classmates for reaching out to members of the community during flooding of 2011. She likened her class to a family whose members have unique goals.
“You got a dream?,” Marianacci said, “you got to protect it.”
Bernardi credited Marianacci for thirteen years of perfect attendance, which she attributed to her mother’s voice.
Class president Jared Saporito expressed gratitude for the administration, teachers, and staff who made his journey possible.
He called the occasion both happy and sad, an occasion to look both back and forward. He expressed confidence in his class in regard to success in college and in life, grounded in their experience and education at Wyoming Area.
“We have called this school home,” said Saporito, who plans to attend St. Francis University, “we are truly warriors.”
Graduate Megan Bonomo reminded fellow graduates of the time they had spent together and how much they had grown.
“Six years ago, we were trading in coloring books for locker combinations,” said Bonomo, “now many of us will be trading in lockers for mailboxes at the colleges we will attend.”
Bonomo will be attending Lock Haven University.
Graduates were quick to express gratitude to parents for love and support.
“I couldn’t have done it without my mother,” said Nina Meighan, who will be attending Aveda Institute, “and now I’m ready to take on the world.”
Michael Carey, who plans to attend Misericordia University, also applauded the efforts and support of his parents who provided him “with a foundation for the rest of my life.”
Eighty-six percent of 181 Wyoming Area graduates of 2013 will be continuing their education at institutions of higher learning.
Bernardi encouraged all those graduating to take risks and do their best.
Quoting Ernest Hemingway, Bernardi said, “The world breaks everyone. Afterward many are stronger in the broken places.”