Unionville’s Class of 2019 enjoys their big day
● By J. Chambless
Photo by JP Phillips New graduates toss their caps at the end of the ceremony.
By JP Phillips
The heat and humidity outside on June 6 did nothing to deter the friends, family, staff and school board members who came out to watch Unionville High School’s class of 2019 graduate at the Bob Carpenter Center on the University of Delaware campus.
Speakers included principal Jimmy Conley, district superintendent John Sanville, social studies educator of the year (pupil selected) Darlene Brigance, and student honor speakers Ashlyn Lauder, Aldo Medina, and Richard Childs. All shared some nostalgia about the past four years, and advice to the graduates as they continue on their personal journeys.
Conley reflected on this class’s virtues of kindness, friendship, and altruism. “As members of this proud class, take the experiences that you have faced over the last four years with your classmates and transform your college and university campuses,” Conley said. “Go to your workplaces and build positive communities. If you are entering military service, bring these attributes to your platoons or your battalions. Build communities through kindness and friendship wherever you go, and show the world what you have learned from each other over the last four years.”
Sanville asked them to use their time purposefully and wisely. “Now that you are moving forward on your own, it is especially important that you use your time for the endeavors that benefit you,” he said. “Plan your 168 hours carefully. Don’t spend time living up to the expectations of others. Don’t spend time fulfilling dreams that are not yours. Don’t be the standard-bearer for ideals you do not support. Don’t adopt attitudes because they are trendy. Don’t let the noise and chaos drown your own thoughts out. Don’t spend one second doing anything that you would be ashamed of.”
Social studies teacher Brigance spoke about the importance of listening to different views and changing your mind when warranted. She stressed that each person should share opinions both boldly and respectfully, even when it’s uncomfortable. She encouraged everyone to research candidates and vote in every election, big and small. “Graduating class of 2019, I encourage all of you to enjoy your life, and to work for a better world, one conversation and one vote at a time,” Brigance said.
Graduating seniors Lauder, Medina and Childs also took to the podium. Lauder talked about being grateful for her high school years, even the difficult times. Medina talked about a neighbor who taught him so much about character, especially compassion. He asked the graduates to consider who influenced their lives. “Thank them,” he said. “Honor them. Challenge yourself to follow their example.” Childs spoke fondly about his experience at UHS and how the school supported students’ personal development. “You believed in us, and made us feel special,” he said.
The Unionville-Chadds Ford district office said that there were 358 graduates. As for future plans, most will settle in at various colleges throughout the country. The most popular destinations are Penn State, West Chester University, University of Pittsburgh, Drexel, and Temple. Twenty-five graduates committed to playing sports at their new schools. Three will enter the military, and one is headed to the police academy. A few are going straight to work, and some are going to community colleges.
“Soon, the day-to-day routine of high school will be but a memory,” honor student Lauder said. “But the underlying feeling of what Unionville means to us, the home we have each created here at school, the friends we have made, the successes we have each achieved for ourselves, and the bond we all share as the graduates of the class of 2019 will remain … Congratulations, class of 2019. And may we all flourish and grow in our own uniquely grateful and grounded ways.”