Class of 2018
Family, friends and district faculty and staff gathered June 4 for the 150th Catasauqua High School graduation. The 123 graduating seniors filed into the high school gymnasium to the sound of “Pomp and Circumstance,” played by the Catasauqua High School band under the direction of Robert Arnold.
The student speakers focused on the past, present and future.
Salutatorian Lucas Bloszinsky spoke about the past. He likened their time in school to a television series, with each new year acting as a new season. The year ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the students excited for the next adventure to come. Bloszinsky described elementary school as the series pilot and congratulated his fellow graduates on making it to the series finale — graduation.
“We’re all off to be stars of our own spin-off,” he concluded.
The students chose Seth Chase to speak about the present. He urged them all to remember this exact moment of pride, joy and accomplishment.
“You can close your eyes, but you can’t close your memories,” he said.
Valedictorian Chloe Andreas left all of her fellow graduates with hope and expectation for the future.
“After today, we become true individuals,” she announced to the group.
She mentioned she is excited to see how everyone’s future turns out. She also thanked all of the teachers who inspired them and led them to this moment.
“They didn’t only teach us about the subject, but how to love the subject,” she said.
Principal David Ascani took time to remember Shannon Wanko, a Sheckler Elementary School teacher who died earlier this year, as well as Erik Hirner, assistant fire chief of Charotin Hose Company No. 1, North Catasauqua, who died May 27. The entire gymnasium joined together in a moment of silence for these members of the community.
Ascani then moved on to recognize all the teachers and faculty members who are retiring after this year.
Thomas Moll, director of student activities, took to the stage and presented a gift to Ascani with the help of Adam Schnug, assistant principal. Moll thanked him for his 14 years of service to the district. Ascani is retiring at the end of the school year.
“Once a Rough Rider, always a Rough Rider,” Moll said.
Those gathered in the gymnasium honored Ascani with a standing ovation.
Schnug will be taking over for Ascani as principal.
Members of the Class of 1968 were present at the graduation and were honored for their 50th anniversary.
Jhosbel Polanco, class treasurer, took a moment to present the class gift. The Class of 2018 presented funds for the television production group to purchase a new camera and supplies. Members also had a motivational poster made with a quote from Will Rogers — “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Ascani recognized the valedictorian and salutatorian, as well as the 15 students who achieved high honor roll during every marking period of their high school careers.
Superintendent Robert Spengler was unable to attend the ceremony as his daughter’s high school graduation was the same night. However, Duane Dietrich, school board vice president, took his place and read a statement prepared by Spengler.
Spengler congratulated the graduates and emphasized how blessed they are to be part of a small community with strong bonds. He shared how proud he is of their accomplishments and his hope for their future.
“Expand your horizons; your future is bright,” he wrote in his speech.
Dede Creppy was selected by the faculty to give the farewell address. She remarked on how quickly her high school years have passed. She congratulated her fellow graduates on working through all of the difficult and challenging times to make it to this point. Creppy remarked they will need to rely on that resilience in their future endeavors.
Carol Cunningham, school board president, handed out the diplomas after Student Council Secretary Mitchell Phillips read the names of the students.
School board members Jason Bashaw, Donald Panto and Lauren Cieslak were also in attendance.
Ascani shared a personal story from his childhood with the graduates to impart some wisdom. He urged the students to take pride in everything they do and not to take shortcuts.
“It’s been my honor to serve as your principal,” Ascani said.
He thanked the community of Catasauqua for a great 14 years.
The band performed “March of the Olympians” while the newly graduated Class of 2018 formed the Grand Catty Line and tossed their caps into the air, led by class President Alexia Reichl.
(Editor’s note: Senior awards will be printed in an upcoming edition.)