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By Natalie Gorsuch
Williamsburg Correspondent 

Kindness and Direction Highlight WHS Commencement


Natalie Gorsuch

Nine honor students were recognized during Williamsburg's commencement exercises on June 6. Recognized were (from left): Nick Ward, Angela Price, Kassidy McChessney, Gavin Keith, Alex James, Paige Gunnett, Chandler Edwards, Autumn Corrigan and Morgan Clouser.

"Kindness is never lost," Dr. Barry England, president of the Williamsburg Community School Board, remarked during last Thursday evening's (June 6) Williamsburg Commencement exercises.

Thirty-four seniors were given diplomas.

Following the welcoming by class Secretary Caitlyn Kensinger, secondary Principal Michael Jones made his speech to the packed crowd in the Williamsburg gymnasium. Jones talked about cutting his grass the other day and thoughts that came to mind.

"The grass isn't always greener," highlighted his humorous speech, and he remarked that the Class of 2019 is at a "great spot in your life."

Jones also acknowledged Richard Barroner – a retiring social studies teacher for his hard work and dedication to the students.

Jones then announced recipients of the valedictorian and salutatorian honors – those recipients would receive a medal, certificate and a $500 scholarship presented by the Williamsburg Community School Board.

Morgan Clouser was named class valedictorian. In her speech, Clouser praised three teachers – Brian McCune, Micah Lingenfelter and Shawn Cunningham – for having a prominent role on her education at Williamsburg.

Clouser echoed the sentiment of one of her inspirations, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is an astrophysicist, "there is no better education that the one that is self-driven." Clouser urged seniors to take a minute and close their eyes and challenged them to see where they are going to be five to 10 years down the road. Clouser will be attending Lycoming College in the fall.

Alex James was named class salutatorian. James remarked in his speech about the "small but proud community" for which the class was raised. He said all of life's choices all follow paths – sometimes there are intersections, detours and perhaps a dark alley, but all 2019 graduates followed the right path – here to graduation. James will be attending Shippensburg University in the fall.

Reflections were next from the class president and vice president, Gavin Keith and Chandler Edwards, respectively.

Keith proclaimed that he had moved to Williamsburg when he was 12 years old and was unsure at first if he would be accepted, but added that his classmates are some of "the best friends I've ever had."

Edwards brought humor to the forefront talking about the dreaded senioritis symptoms and a visual down the hall, taking in to smell all the Axe body spray from the eighth-grade boys, which elicited laughter from the crowd.

Superintendent Lisa Murgas talked about the "honor and privilege it was to watch your journey" in reference to the class. Murgas also said she was proud of the wide array of colleges – Penn State, Juniata College, Lycoming College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Shippensburg, Lock Haven, Ithaca College, Harrisburg Area Community College, and Mount Aloysius – to name a few of what the class was going to attend. She also praised the five who would be entering the military – Tristan DeHoyos, Heath Moore, Kamen Becerra, Matthew Morgan and Noah Fagnano.

Natalie Gorsuch

Williamsburg Class of 2019 graduate Jared Webb is congratulated by his grandfather Roy Becker following the festivities on June 6.

The class, she proclaimed, made up of "highly motivated individuals," will have challenges throughout their lives – more ups and more downs. She referenced Vince Lombardi when she told the class, "it's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you will get back up." She encouraged class to "make mistakes, that's where you will find success."

Murgas presented nine students – Morgan Clouser, Autumn Corrigan, Chandler Edwards, Paige Gunnett, Alex James, Gavin Keith, Kassidy McChessney, Angela Price and Nick War – with honor cords.

Dr. England ,before presenting the class for graduation, thanked the taxpayers of the Williamsburg School District for the heating/air conditioning systems. He then acknowledged past and present military personnel who were graduates of Williamsburg and praised first responders, EMT, police and fireman. His message to the graduates was simple – "kindness is never lost." He referenced throwing a rock into a river and the ripple effect that kindness has. He also encouraged graduates to maintain "moral character and honesty."


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