By Kaylee Lindenmuth
MAHANOY CITY - Eighty-one students became Mahanoy Area graduates Friday night before a packed gymnasium of family and friends.
Class of 2019 Valedictorian Colin Fegley had the opportunity to speak to the gathered crowd, sharing thoughts and advice with his fellow graduates.
"As a group, we are unique individuals with different interests, hobbies, friends, beliefs, ideas, and values, but we share one thing in common: we are Mahanoy Area's Class of 2019," said Fegley. "Tonight is a nostalgic time to recall, reminisce, and relive the memories, the laughter, the smiles, and the friendships that were created through our time here."
"This night, more importantly, is also a time to recognize and be proud of the obstacles and struggles we each individually have overcome to be where we are now," Fegley added.
Fegley emphasized the importance of risk-taking, responsibility, and perseverance.
"When you attempt something, you either take a W, or an L -- you win, or you learn. You never lose," said Fegley.
"The only thing you can completely own and control is yourself. You can choose to be and chase what you want," added Fegley. "Therefore, if you fail a test, it's on you. if you can't make an 8:00am class, it's on you... the point is, you cannot look to complain and blame others. If you do not like the results, then make changes and fix it."
Prior to Fegley, salutatorian Ryan Folk also addressed the class, challenging the negative stereotypes about the anthracite region.
"How many of us have heard the phrase, 'you won't make anything of your life. You're from Schuylkill County. How can you make something of yourself there?' Well, I'd like to offer the Class of 2019 as a rebuttal to that stereotype," said Folk before asking the graduates pursuing higher education to raise their hands. There were many. "Ladies and gentlemen, these graduates are going to become our society's future doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, and teachers among a multitude of other professions."
Folk also warned against "wishing time away," hoping certain milestones would approach quickly, after two people close to him passed away.
"Their passings have taught me to live in the moment and make memories with the people that are around me now, because I don't know what tomorrow will bring," said Folk.
Following Folk and Fegley, the district recognized Dr. Mark Brayford as its outstanding alumnus of the year, and he shared a few words with the group.
Keep a check here and on our photo site, www.shensentinel.smugmug.com, for a full photo gallery soon.
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