Skip to main content

Corey steals the show

06/25/2014 10:48AM, Published by ACL, Categories: Schools



Gallery: Avon Grove High School Graduation 2014 [5 Images] Click any image to expand.



By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer


For the first hour or so of Avon Grove High School's 86th annual commencement, held June 18 at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, there was truly nothing out of the ordinary to distinguish much of it from any other graduation ceremony.

Image title

In row upon row on the floor of the arena, the gowns and mortar caps of each of the 442 graduates were, as always, maroon and gold, and above them, working cell phone cameras and applauding, were parents and loved ones. The Avon Grove High School Graduation Band, under the direction of Rebecca Staznik, played Elgar's “Pomp and Circumstance” when the graduates arrived, and at the podium, school principal Tom Alexander offered sincere congratulations to the graduating class, noting that the class had earned a total of $1.9 million in scholarship funds. Student addresses, some solemn and some humorous, followed Alexander, and when it came time to collect diplomas, Vice Principal Angela Houghton was the first to greet each graduating senior after their name was called by Senior Assistant Principal Gary Benasutti.

At a few minutes after eight, however, Benasutti called the name, “Corey Marie Beattie,” and 

Image title

suddenly, a sound like a thunderous wave shook the Bob Carpenter Center. From the podium to the farthest reaches of the arena, 4,000 students and guests stood and applauded as Beattie, maneuvering in a walker and assisted by her mother, Marie, gave a big kiss to the welcoming audience. Wearing her mortar cap, a graduating gown and a huge smile, Beattie fell into the arms of Alexander in a warm embrace.  

Ninety seconds later, after Beattie had finished crossing the stage, the applause finally subsided.

The crowd had special reason to stand.  

Image title

As the 2010 school year got underway, Beattie was an active senior at Avon Grove. She played softball, participated in track and field, was on the diving team and a member of a competitive cheerleading team. She loved music, and was a member of the choir and played the trumpet in the school band. After graduation, she intended to attend culinary school after graduation, when on Oct. 2, she suffered a broken neck and traumatic brain injury while a passenger in a car at the intersection of Routes 896 and 841. Since then, her mother and hundreds of others have spearheaded an initiative to persuade PennDOT to make the road safer. Through their efforts, an additional stop sign has been added to the intersection.       

During that time, Corey's recovery has been a slow but steady one, with rehabilitation and 

Image title

therapy an almost daily part of her life. 

Crossing the graduation stage, said her mother, is merely one of her many goals in life.

“It was a month into her senior year when she had the accident, and she wanted to go to 

culinary school, so we have been fighting to get her back to walking and talking and eating and speaking, and this is just one of the goals,” said Marie. “The next will be to get her back into a kitchen so that she can achieve her dream of being a chef.”

The goal is already underway. The Beattie family has found a local chef who has agreed to start working with Corey. Under his tutelage, she will learn the basics of  cutting and cooking, as well as become familiar with the tools a chef needs in a kitchen.

Image title

“We don't know whether or not she's going to get better, but we act as if she will,” Marie said. “You're afraid to hope but you want to, but you have to believe, otherwise you don't have hope. I have to tell you, this is a day we always hoped for, but I couldn't tell you that it would ever get here. Corey inspires more people, because she has this never-give-up, never-give-in attitude.”

In her written address to her fellow graduates, listed in the commencement program, Beattie encouraged students to not be afraid to fail. Quoting Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, Beattie wrote, “Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose...”

“I don't consider myself a failure, I am just a human being learning some lessons from my 

Image title

challenge,” Beattie wrote. “I hope that we all keep failing so we can learn great things and hopefully inspire others to keep going when they think they've failed.”

Senior speaker Edgar Garcia Elizade kicked off the student speakers for the evening, which was followed by addresses by class salutatorian Ethan Phillips and class valedictorian Marcus Forst. After a performance of the Stephen Schwartz song, “For Good,” by Alexandra Taylor and Noah Mogaka and backed by the Senior Ensemble, graduates Maggie Winter and Kristian Grier delivered an amusing speech entitled, “We Have a Dream,” a cut-and-paste homage to some famous speeches. 

Class president Nathaniel Howard rounded out the addresses with his speech, “Rise Above.” 


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



graduation avon grove high school avon grove high school graduation commencement graduation 2014


  • Bird Walk

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Newlin Grist Mill and Wild Birds Unlimited-Concordville are teaming up to explore the wonderful w...


  • Best Summer Kids Camps in Chester County!

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    2017 SUMMER KIDS HALF-DAY CAMP IN CHESTER SPRINGS, CHESTER COUNTY: One Week of Half-Day Art & C...


  • Vegetable Breeding Workshop

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 12:00PM

    Over the course of the two days of this workshop you will learn the importance of vegetable breed...


  • Milburn’s Pancake Breakfast!

    06/24/2017
    09:00AM — 11:00AM

    Farmer Jay whipping up pancakes!


  • History at Work: "Woodturning"

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Join us each month as we explore historic skills and trades with our "History at Work" demonstrat...


  • Wild Mushroom Foraging

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 12:30PM

    Many species of magnificent mushrooms may be growing in your own back yard. Join Tug DeLuce of th...


  • Milburn’s Very Cherry Harvest Party!

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    No Hands Allowed!


  • Pop-Up Naturalist: "Pond Life"

    06/24/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    Join Newlin's staff naturalist for an afternoon of exciting environmental activities. Look for th...


  • Test123

    06/24/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Chester County Balloon Festival

    06/24/2017
    04:00PM — 10:00PM

    The Chester County Balloon Festival is known as a must-attend event! We are proud to be a non-pro...


  • The Sin City Band "Unplugged"

    06/24/2017
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    It's a rare chance to hear The Sin City Band perform in an intimate setting and unplugged. The Si...


  • Test123

    06/26/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • A classic new Indian restaurant with fine dining, banquet hall and a café is opening on the 26th ...


  • Art & Inspiration: Summer Art Camp

    06/26/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us on four fun-filled nights for Art and Inspiration. Beginning Sunday, June 25th at 7 p.m...


  • Best Summer Kids Camps in Chester County!

    06/27/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    2017 SUMMER KIDS HALF-DAY CAMP IN CHESTER SPRINGS, CHESTER COUNTY: One Week of Half-Day Art & C...


  • Test123

    06/27/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Art & Inspiration: Summer Art Camp

    06/27/2017
    07:00PM — 08:30PM

    Join us on four fun-filled nights for Art and Inspiration. Beginning Sunday, June 25th at 7 p.m...


  • Best Summer Kids Camps in Chester County!

    06/29/2017
    09:00AM — 12:30PM

    2017 SUMMER KIDS HALF-DAY CAMP IN CHESTER SPRINGS, CHESTER COUNTY: One Week of Half-Day Art & C...


  • Milkweeds for Monarchs

    06/29/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Help our monarch butterfly populations survive and reproduce by planting native milkweeds. David ...


  • Test123

    06/29/2017
    03:30PM

    Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some description here, Some ...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    06/29/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Trivia Nights at Kennett Square Applebee's

    06/29/2017
    09:00PM — 11:00PM

    Start your studying for trivia nights at the Kennett Square Applebee’s! Trivia nights will be hel...


Chester County High School Sports