FACTORYVILLE — Friends and family members sat on bleachers at Lions’ Pride Stadium listening to inspiring speeches during Lackawanna Trail’s 62nd graduation commencement Tuesday. Male graduates wore black caps and gowns while females wore white.
Dr. Mark Murphy acknowledged the futures of the graduates, reporting 84 of them will attend a two or four-year college or university, 15 will join the workforce next year and six will continue their learning at career and vocational centers across the Unites States. Five graduates have enlisted in the US military.
“These commencements are designed to recognize and celebrate accomplishments of the remarkable senior class,” Murphy said.
Remarks from superintendent Matthew Rakauskas included a quote from Booker T. Washington — “If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else.’”
“From what I understand, this class has been doing that since they were in the elementary center,” said Rakauskas. “And judging from the potential and values that have been instilled upon them, it’s something that they will continue to do long after tonight’s graduation.”
Trail graduate Allison Decker, who ranked third in her class, earned the honor of becoming this year’s commended student. In her address, she thanked everyone who made an impact on her. She acknowledged first-born graduates whom she said set an example for their younger siblings and last-born graduates whom she mentioned followed in the footsteps of their older siblings.
“My point is that most of our class has an honorable role in their families’ generation,” Decker said.
Murphy then introduced salutatorian Alaina Jones. In her address, Jones shared her goal of becoming top in her class, then realized, besides the medal, having to give a speech comes with the honor.
After asking her parents for advice of what to include in her speech, Jones followed her mom’s advice of “just be you.” She passed that advice to her fellow graduates, advising them to find what makes them happy.
“I’ve become a better person when I stopped worrying about what others thought of my interests and just did what makes me happy.”
Jones shared her decision to pursue her passion of music and join the marching band rather than continuing to play field hockey with her friends. She chose the latter, then encouraged graduates to follow their hearts, as well.
This year’s valedictorian Jennifer Price earned awards for the mathematics, French and English departments.
In her address, Price lauded her fellow graduates for their kindness towards people.
“These are people who strive without ceasing, never push away those who ask for help,” she said. “If these people are the future, then it is a future we can look forward to.”
Price then quoted American activist Grace Paley by saying, “’The only recognizable feature of hope is action.’” She told her fellow graduates to be a symbol of hope to the people around them and take action.