CLASS PRESIDENT and Valedictorian Shannon Meyer takes a selfie with her classmates during one of her two speeches at Prospect Mountain's graduation ceremony on Friday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
June 18, 2014ALTON — The auditorium at Prospect Mountain High School was packed with friends, family and most importantly the graduating class of 2014 on Friday, June 13, and as was pointed out numerous times on the night, the students have much to be proud of.
More than 90 percent of the 137 students who were receiving diplomas are moving forward to a college or university or enrolling in the military.
Principal J Fitzpatrick joked that the students would get their diplomas soon enough. He talked to them about being ready for the real world and paying their car insurance, their own cell phone bills and getting their own apartments.
"Just keep calm and stay classy," Fitzpatrick urged the class of 2014.
Before moving forward with the ceremony he recognized retiring teachers Doc McGrew and Beth Felipe. He also gave recognition to Mark Jannini for perfect attendance since Kindergarten, which he noted is quite an accomplishment.
Fitzpatrick talked about the Class of 2014 being the 10th graduating class and pointed out it would be the last class to have a member of the Tidd family.
Krista Argiropolis, the Prospect Mountain School Board chair, kept her speech short and sweet, putting in a the form of a tweet. She talked about success coming from wisdom, knowledge and hard work.
Brooke Dame, who delivered the salutatory address, spoke about the 5,040 hours that fellow students had spent in the halls and classrooms of PMHS.
She urged her classmates to look back on their time at PMHS and remember the good times. She feels confident that her classmates will go out in the real world and make a difference.
"We are without a doubt the most talented class Prospect Mountain High School has ever seen," Dame said. "Talent has no limitations or boundaries. We can't stop here though."
She ended her speech with a quote for her classmates to remember about where they came from: "You can say goodbye and you say hello but you can always find your way back home."
Shannon Meyer, the class valedictorian, finished with a 5.6 GPA, the highest in the school's history. She explained that she didn't set out to be the number one student in her class, and she talked about the value that the community provides for the students at PMHS.
Meyer talked about trying to exceed expectations that people have for her, and the high expectations that she has for the Class of 2014.
"I just can't wait to go out on my own and pay the bills," She joked, with a nod to Fitzpatrick's speech about growing up.
She closed with one final wish for her classmates, "I expect that this future will be great."
Meyer then spoke again as the class president, but first she took a selfie with her classmates in the background.
"Thanks for always believing and supporting me," Meyer added. "Congratulations and best of luck."
Vicky Sweezy, Samantha Bravar and Roy Poslusny, the three senior class advisors, talked about the many memories that they shared with the Class of 2014. They framed their speech around amusing hashtags that got a rise out of the classmates, parents and family members in attendance.
Sweezy said that 80 students from the class help contribute financially to the class and this culminated with a class trip to the ocean in Maine.
Cathy Fraser, the librarian and media specialist at PMHS, was selected by the students to give the keynote address.
She told stories about students storing all kinds of items in the library throughout the years and gave shout outs to some of the students that she worked with throughout the years.
Fraser talked about the challenge of saying no in life.
"No is often unpopular but it is a commitment just as much as yes is," Fraser said.
She gave special recognition to a student who wasn't even a student at Prospect Mountain, but sure seemed like he wanted to be, Zach Lane. She presented him with the gift of a 2014 senior yearbook.
She talked about her relationship with the students and if she had time she would have mentioned them all.
"I love everyone of you and I wish I had the time to mention you by name," Fraser added. "Congratulations to the Class of 2014. We have loved sharing our space with you."
And then the excitement filled the auditorium as the 137 graduates were called and given their diplomas.
For the seniors it's the end of their time at PMHS, but it's the start of something new, whether it be in college in the fall, military enrollment or going out into the working world.
Tim Croes can be reached at email@example.com or 569-3126
Joshua Logan Hawthorne