Diplomas presented to 360 Unionville High School students06/13/2022 10:04PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Three hundred and sixty students graduated from Unionville High School on June 10, becoming the 99th class to do so.
For students like Sarah Smith of Pocopson, it was a final gathering of a community she has treasured for more than a dozen years.
“There were a lot of people at school I’ve been going to school with since kindergarten,” said Smith, who will attend Gettysburg College in the fall. “They were the community that I always knew I had.”
East Marlborough’s Brendan D’Amico, another graduate, said the Unionville High School community impacts the lives of those in it.
“You’re always going to find a community within Unionville that you’re a part of,” said D’Amico, who will be attending James Madison University in the fall. “You’ll never be left out.”
The graduation was held at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware. Speakers, which included students, the principal, and the educator of the year, talked about how the class of 2022 was special, brimming with kindness and spirit and compassion.
“My best description of our class is ‘a friend to all,’” said student speaker Allison Rikard. “As a brand new student freshman year, I experienced the kindness this class possessed, the type of kindness that shows outwardly rather than hidden inwardly, and urges others to live in the same manner.”
Student speaker Jack Blackadar spoke of the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who for eternity had to push a boulder up a mountain, and how each of the people in the audience had their own metaphorical boulders to push. But, he said, while the boulders may seem insurmountable, and the journey not evident at times, “instead of pushing the boulder, we will barely nudge it, until eventually, the boulder moves ever so slightly, but we do not move it alone; someone else is there to help.”
“This is what makes our class special: I have never seen someone pushing a boulder alone,” Blackadar said. “I have seen athletes under the pressure of a whole school, and their teammates push them along … I have seen people afraid to mend a relationship once broken, and their classmate urges them to reconnect with a lost friend.
“We learn that we are not alone, and that no one here is.”
Unionville High School Principal James Conley praised the class of 2022 for their kindness, compassion, and individuality.
“You are a class whose greatest talent is building up those around you through your kindness and compassion to others,” said Conley, for whom the graduation was also his last. “Be a young man or young woman in the world where kindness and compassion will be your compass.”
The class of 2022 voted UHS social studies teacher Nick DelDotto as the Educator of the Year, and as he delivered his address at the graduation ceremony, he stressed the worth of the students in a speech that was at times funny and uplifting.
“You bring something to this world that no one else can, and the value that you bring to the world is irreplaceable,” he said. “Spoiler alert – you’re worthy. You always were, you always will be.”
Student speaker Nandhini Parthasarathy talked about how the class of 2022 has been making “last moments” count.
“Graduation isn’t the end of this story; it’s just the closing of one chapter,” she said. “The last 12 years of school or the last 18 years of our lives, which many of us have spent in this district, have prepared us for whatever path we choose next. The memories we have, the lessons we have learnt, the mistake we have made, have led us to today.”
In the fall, the class of 2023 will begin their senior year and the journey to become the 100th graduating class at Unionville. D’Amico said the rising seniors should try to appreciate all the moments they will be facing.
“Live your high school year to the fullest,” he said.
Smith echoed those sentiments, saying she would tell the rising seniors to just enjoy their final year.
“Take a step back, and take it in when you can,” she said. “A lot of senior I year I spent stressing over school, and in hindsight I would have been fine if I just kind of stepped back and lived in the moment.”