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Oxford Area High School's 138th annual commencement

06/02/2018 09:56AM ● By Steven Hoffman

Oxford Area High School’s 138th annual commencement

Diplomas awarded to 328 graduates of the Class of 2018

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

The 328 members of Oxford Area High School’s Class of 2018 reflected on their time together at Oxford and looked toward the future with hope and excitement during the school’s 138th annual commencement on Friday, June 1, 2018.

At shortly after 7 p.m., with “Pomp and Circumstance No. 1” playing, the students entered the school’s gymnasium that was already filled with their family and friends and the school district’s staff—all of whom helped the students reach this milestone moment in their young lives.

Class president Sarah Robinson delivered the welcome address, and talked about how the students had gone through so many changes while at Oxford.

“My journey, like many of yours, began at Jordan Bank School,” said Robinson. She explained that on graduation night, the students might be wondering about “who among us will succeed?” 

In the first grade, she recalled, the students were concerned about who among them had the best backpack. By the time they reached ninth grade, they wondered who among them would be able to find their classes on the first day of high school. With each year came new challenges for the students to overcome—which they did.

“Now that we’re here, the question has changed again,” Robinson said. She explained that once the students embark on the rest of their lives they will pursue many different careers—as teachers or pilots or nurses or skilled workers.

“Our options,” Robinson told her classmates, “are limitless.” 

In his remarks to the graduating seniors, high school principal James Canaday noted that the members of the Class of 2018 had grown up with social media as an important part of their daily lives, and they made numerous connections through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But the number of ‘likes’ on social media won’t be remembered, Canaday said, when the students look back at their time at Oxford. Rather, the students will remember the special times that they spent with family and friends and teammates.

“In the next stage of your lives, interpersonal connections will be most important,” Canaday explained.

Other graduation speakers echoed Robinson’s optimism about the future. Julia DeGrave, the class salutatorian, challenged her classmates to use their abilities to improve the world around them, and to devote themselves to making connections with others.

“When you do this, good things will happen,” she said.

Francis Fattori, the class valedictorian, encouraged his classmates to think about—and to thank—all the people who helped them along the way, including parents, siblings, other family members and friends, as well as the teachers. He drew loud applause when he mentioned the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl when he was making a point about the importance of working together.

Fattori concluded his speech by quoting Confucius, the Chinese teacher and philosopher, who said, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Class historian Anna Malone noted during her speech that this was likely the final time that Oxford’s Class of 2018 would be together as one body. 

“We have made friendships and made memories that will last a lifetime,” Malone said.

Once all the speeches had been made, it was finally the time that everyone had been working toward and waiting for—the members of the Class of 2018 were about to receive their diplomas.

The duty of presenting the diplomas to students was handled by superintendent David Woods, school board president Joseph Tighe, and Canaday. Robinson had the honor of reading each of her classmates’ names as they walked across the stage and accepted their diplomas.

Once all the diplomas were presented to the graduates, Robinson passed the president’s sash to Luke Winand, the president for the Class of 2019. Next, Emily Sniechoski, the class secretary, presided over the turning of the tassels. With the commencement quickly moving toward its conclusion, the excitement reached its apex as the students launched confetti and beach balls, and the crowd cheered.

The senior class members of the concert choir led a performance of the school’s alma mater, and then the Class of 2018 departed to “Pomp and Circumstance” as their friends and family waited to greet them. One chapter of the students’ lives had been completed, but another was about to begin.

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor @ chestercounty .com.

SLUG: Oxford Area High School graduation


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Members of Oxford’s Class of 2018 eagerly anticipated the start of the commencement exercises.


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Students gathered for photos outside the school.


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Kassandra Echevarria, Luis Davalos, Allison Acuna, and Jessica Fonseca.


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Thomas Herrin and Thomas Wood.


Photo by Steven Hoffman

William Chester, Kaden Smyth, Jose Tapia, and Michael Stuart.

27 or 72

Photo by Steven Hoffman

Oxford Area High School Principal James Canaday addresses the audience.

37, 98 or 99

Photo by Steven Hoffman

Chesapeake Wood 


Photo by Steven Hoffman

Signs lined the front entrance to Oxford Area High School.


Anna Malone, class historian.


Class valedictorian Francis Fattori


Nelson Rodriguez


Jillian Blessington


Jordan Brown


Caitlin Cole


Phillip Hurtt


Myles McKim-Cozart

134 or 138

Photo by Steven Hoffman

The celebrating begins.

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