● Published by J. Chambless
Gallery: Unionville High School 2015 [8 Images] Click any image to expand.
By John Chambless
With big smiles and bigger dreams, 338 seniors from Unionville High School proudly got their diplomas during a ceremony on Tuesday morning at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.
The full arena of parents, relatives and students marked the milestone in their own ways, but for retiring Unionville principal Paula Massanari, the event held special significance. “I went back and looked at the graduation speeches I've given since June of 2009, which was when I gave my first graduation speech for UHS students,” she said. She quoted sayings that she found posted by teachers in their classrooms, such as “Warning: Challenges ahead,” “What happens tomorrow, depends upon today,” and “For success, attitude is as important as ability.”
Unionville High School principal Paula Massanari speaks to the graduates.
To these, Massanari added her own advice: “Find a mentor, and be a mentor,” she said. “That's something I wish somebody had told me when I graduated many years ago. Ask for a mentor who has successfully negotiated the path you're just beginning. Then, you can return the favor and provide support for someone else.”
District superintendent John Sanville took a photo of the graduates and promised he'd be posting it to Twitter. “I have a perspective up here that not many people have,” Sanville said, smiling, before snapping the photo. He urged the seniors to maintain civility in their dealings on social media. “Those who use courtesy will be remembered for all the right reasons,” he said.
Student honor speakers included Tucker Reese, who noted the hard work done by students over their four years. “We got up early, we stayed up late, we even rode the bus with middle-schoolers,” he said, smiling. “But it was all worth it, because we've spent the last four years defining ourselves. Standing here, on the cusp of what comes next, how can we be anything but hopeful?”
Ian Larson and Julia Madrak took the stage to perform an original song, “Current Thoughts and Feeling,” that was performed with confidence and skill, and got an ovation as the beaming students acknowledged the applause and took their seats on the arena floor.
Hannah Bass managed to craft a speech in verse that took a humorous look back at the progress made by students from elementary school to their graduation day.
The guest speaker was UHS teacher Mark Lacianca, who was chosen by students as this year's “Educator of the Year.” He teaches physics and chemistry at the high school. “Thirty years ago, I was in your seat at my own graduation in upstate Pennsylvania,” he said. “Each of you is in the process of crossing the bridge to join the adult world. The future is very bright. In the end, your success comes from doing what must be done,” he said.
After the diplomas were given to the graduates to whoops and cheers from the crowd, Massanari took the podium one more time after the students turned their mortar board tassles to the right.
“You have been given the gift of an excellent education,” she said, beaming. “It's a gift upon which you will rely for a lifetime. Treasure that gift, along with your memories of this day. Class of 2015, congratulations and well done!”
To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, e-mail email@example.com.