About 400 students received their diplomas Wednesday night before an enthusiastic crowd as Penn Manor High School held commencement at Franklin & Marshall College for the first time in three years.
You can watch a recording of the graduation ceremony here.
Graduation marked the end of a challenging four years for the Class of 2023, which lived through the disruptions brought on by a pandemic and a major construction project at their shool.
“Although Covid provided plenty of hardships for our Class of 2023, we as a class showed perseverance and strength to get us through,” Abigail Ames, class president, told the crowd. “We still managed to push ourselves beyond our limits and embraced every opportunity for growth through academics, sports, music, theater, and many other activities.”
Principal Baron Jones pointed out some of those accomplishments.
Fifty-seven seniors graduated with honors and a GPA of 4.0 or higher; 25 students earned a total of 100 college credits while at the high school; and 269 students took 412 Advanced Placement exams in 27 different subjects.
Sixteen graduates have signed letters of intent to play sports in college, and several students qualified for regional and state competitions in band, orchestra or chorus.
Two-third of the graduates plan to continue their studies, either at two-year or four-year institutions, and six members of the Class of 2023 have chosen to enter the military.
One of them, Teagen Rodgers, has been serving since February. When his mother, Danielle Rodgers, a Manor Middle School counselor, walked across the stage to accept his diploma, the crowd burst into applause.
Also honored at the ceremony was Lauren Stoner, who was named Student of the Year by the faculty and staff. She was selected from among the Students of the Month.
The ceremony also featured speeches by valedictorian Isabelle Kligge, salutatorian Jenna DeVinney, Nicole Chen and Anne Bibus.
Jenna urged her fellow graduates to never give up as they pursue life after high school.
“Graduates, when we face that temptation, I hope we remember that in difficult situations, failing isn’t the worst that can happen,” she said. “The worst that can happen is failing to even try.”
In her closing remarks, Anne encouraged her peers to find inspiration from those who helped them along the way.
“When life pushes you down, remember those who pull you back up. Remember them. Thank them. Be them. That way, the next time you see someone fall, be the one who sticks out a hand. These connections matter,” she said.
“When we connect, we grow. When we grow, we succeed. And tonight, we have succeeded. Congratulations, Class of 2023!”
Many thanks to Jason Joniec for his commencement photos