411 members of Class of 2016 receive diplomas

On a pleasant, breezy Tuesday night, more than 400 Penn Manor seniors earned their diplomas before family and friends during a joyous graduation ceremony for the Class of 2016.

Held at Franklin & Marshall College, commencement celebrated the many accomplishments of the graduates, including state and national recognition in art, writing, technology, business and athletics. Principal Dr. Philip Gale thanked the graduating class for helping Penn Manor High School receive national recognition for the second straight year from U.S. News & World Report.

He pointed out that seniors received 154 academic awards and scholarships totaling more than $113,000. In addition to grants and other scholarships, the graduates will receive more than $3.4 million in scholarship money to continue their education.

Gale also praised the seniors for their enthusiastic support of the school’s first MiniTHON. Held in April, the event raised more than $19,000 to fight pediatric cancer, nearly quadrupling the original goal of $5,000.

“When the first request came to me, I was a little skeptical that this type of event could be done at Penn Manor,” Gale admitted. “I guess I need to have a stronger belief in our Penn Manor students. The lesson that I took from the MiniTHON is to never sell yourself short.”

“I am not going to tell you that you can do whatever you want, because that is not true. However, I do believe than in order to accomplish big things, you have to set your sights on big things.”

The ceremony featured a new version of the Penn Manor alma mater, written and conducted by senior Will Torres, and honored members of the Class of 1966, several of whom who were in attendance. There also were six sets of twins receiving their diplomas Tuesday.

The ceremony had special significance for senior Ryan Atkinson. His father, Tom, is seriously ill, but was able to watch the ceremony from a hospital bed on the balcony. Afterwards, he handed his son his diploma.

Congratulations to Ryan, and all our graduates, and best wishes as you embark on the next chapter of your lives!