Class of 2018
Honesdale High School One Hundred Forty-THIRD Commencement
By David Mazzenga
Embracing new responsibilities was a recurring theme at Saturday’s Commencement Ceremony at Honesdale High School (HHS).
Consisting of 193 students, the 143rd graduating class took to the stage at 11 a.m.
Amid the wash of red and black gowns, students were accented with sashes denoting academic honors and planned military service, red and black braided cords showcasing those involved in the National Honors Society Blood Drive, and, for the first time in HHS history, green and white cords identifying students in the Wayne County 4-H Program.
Leading the speakers for the ceremony, Class of 2018 President, Julia Polt discussed the increasing weight of decisions and responsibilities they’ve met in growing up.
From choosing ice cream flavors as children, to managing classroom tidiness as they aged, Polt reminded the class of all the lessons in responsibility instilled in them by their parents and teachers.
“As we look at each other today, some may wish we still simply had to worry about whether to get chocolate or vanilla,” she said. “But what we must remember is this: We can’t let all of our current responsibilities and obligations hold us back from being the best we can be.”
Building on Polt’s message, Class Salutatorian, Emma Dunsinger, focused her speech on the present responsibilities facing the class.
Recounting the amplification of their duties from Freshman year through their senior year, each time prompted by a new uncertainty to overcome, Dunsinger lauded her classmates in having persevered despite it all.
Looking ahead to the next stage of life, the Salutatorian stated, “It’s an unknown, both exciting and nerve-wracking, and with it will come new responsibilities.
However, I do believe that our experience at Honesdale High School has given us the skills we need to navigate and fulfill the tasks required of this unknown and we have
built the foundation for our future success by fulfilling the obligations we have now.”
Between musical interludes, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and “From Now On,” Class of 2018 Valedictorian, Tessa Vendetti, further spoke about the unknown and upcoming responsibilities of the future.
Vendetti reminded the class that, venturing forth, they will be stepping out from under the watchful eye of parents and teachers and into a world where their responsibilities are their own.
“When we are faced with conflicts, we will have to determine for ourselves what we believe and how we will act,” she explained.
The Valedictorian further noted as the class begins to provide for themselves and the families they may eventually start, “In essence, we will have to become our own parents.”
Vendetti reminded the class their responsibilities would soon include not only caring for themselves and their families, but also revolve around the duties incumbent upon good citizens and stewards of their communities.
In doing so, to handle the tumultuous uncertainties yet to come, Vendetti said, “It is best to be flexible. Ride the wave. Roll with the punches. Our duties may seem unmanageable at first glance, but they will become more manageable with time.”
Commending the class for their achievement, Wayne Highlands School District (WHSD) Superintendent Greg Frigoletto stated, “Whatever brought you here, whether a rocky road or smooth sailing, you’re here. You have that in common. You’ve made it! Every graduate will leave this gymnasium today with a diploma in hand serving as the ticket to endless possibilities.”
Keeping in mind all the duties yet to be thrust upon the students as they enter the next stage of life, Frigoletto cautioned each of them to find a healthy balance between work and leisure.
In attempting to find balance, Frigoletto suggested the graduates make a list of priorities to keep in mind throughout life.
Finding balance “...must begin with knowing who you are and what’s ultimately important to you,” he said.
Presentation of Awards
HHS Principal Christopher Pietraszewski announced this year’s graduates received a collective total of almost $4 million in scholarship awards from institutions of higher learning.
The class also received nearly $124,000 from local and regional awards.
Presenting diplomas this year were WHSD Board of Education members, Kathleen Grandjean, John Lowe, Gina Pritchard, and Brian Weist.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018!