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Chester County Press

Expressions of joy and success at Oxford’s graduation ceremony

06/06/2023 01:42AM ● By Steven Hoffman
By Chris Barber 
Contributing Writer
The bleachers in Oxford Area High School’s gym endured the presence of hundreds of friends and relatives bringing their good wishes to the graduating class of 2023. The guests came early and in great quantity to the high school on Friday, some bringing flowers to present afterwards, others attending from afar to see their grandchildren receive their diplomas.
Just before the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance,” Principal Jamie Canaday greeted the full house. He advised polite behavior by the attendees and announced the imminent arrival of the class of 2023.
At 6 p.m. sharp the senior class proceeded in from the rear of the gym, circled the floor and took seats in the center of the arena. Their line was arranged in color-matched small sections, boys in maroon and girls in white.
 Canaday opened the ceremony with words of pride for the class:
“It has been an honor to serve you. … I am confident you have the skills necessary to make a positive difference in the world. Remember, good things happen to good people,” he said.
He also advised them to embrace that feeling of anxiety and determination which comes with facing new tasks.
Class president Paige Pechin welcomed the crowd, reviewing some moments in high school that stood out in her mind. Referring to the unusual conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during their high school years, she said, “It was stressful, but we got through it all.”
Class vice president Abby Johnson praised her classmates for rapidly learning the ins and outs of being in high school once they arrived to a new situation from middle school.
Three who excelled academically also presented their remarks.
Student speaker Luke Schoessler said he looks forward to college, but he will miss his time at Oxford.
“The friends I made here created the memories I’ll cherish,” he said.
Salutatorian Sarah Brown addressed the subject of failure as something not to be feared, but embraced.
“Remember, you are going to make mistakes, but there are no failures that stop us from being taught,” she said.
Valedictorian Eliot Long referred heavily to the lessons he learned from reading “Lord of the Rings.” He said it is a mistake to form instant reactions to people and their behaviors without knowing what is behind them. He said that people are driven by the conditions in which they find themselves. “We must consider the perspectives of others,” he said.
Following the presentation of the individual diplomas, Pechin passed the stole signifying her office to Junior Class President Ava McGlothlin.
Twice during the ceremony, the Senior Chorus performed: once at the beginning with the U.S. National Anthem and at the end with the school’s Alma Mater.
The Air Force Junior ROTC presented the Colors.
Immediately after the new graduates were instructed to move their mortar board tassels from right to left, they exploded with joy, cheering and shooting confetti poppers.
They recessed to a pepped up playing of “Pomp and Circumstance,” joining their friends and relatives afterward.