FR Seniors’ “Memories Are Forever With Us”
Following the motto, “Our lives are before us. Our past is behind us. But our memories are forever with us,” 25 seniors stood on the auditorium stage at Forbes Road High School one last time Friday night for one of the most momentous occasions of their young lives – graduation.
Led by class valedictorian Corrina Parsons and salutatorian Hailey Berkstresser, the students were lauded by school administrators and award presenters for an array of achievements ranging from extensive hours logged in vocational-technical programs to excellence in community service and academic achievement.
Berkstresser, who plans to attend the Altoona campus of Penn State University to obtain a degree in animal science, pointed out that in spite of the influence of family and Forbes Road faculty, the choice has always been theirs to decide what they would do when they grew up, whether it be studying at college or through online courses at home, getting a job or enlisting with the military.
Referencing their small class size at the rural, northern Fulton County school district, Berkstresser said the learning environment has been great even though she said she certainly won’t miss the tests, classes or even the drama. However, it’s those memories accrued over the years that will never change and always be with them, she said.
Meanwhile, Parsons also touched on “meandering” from a path that teachers and parents have set forth for them. By going off that path, it has helped them become their own person, Parsons said.
The valedictorian, who will attend Lebanon Valley College to study physical therapy, pointed out that this group of seniors weren’t at graduation because they took the easy way out in high school. That night marked a new beginning with new meaning as well as a new start with college and jobs.
“It all begins tonight,” she said, adding that while their paths may or may not cross in the years to come, they will always have their memories. “Excel in life, but don’t forget what is behind.”
English teacher and musical director Stephanie Beckner served as the keynote speaker during the May 31 commencement exercise. She referred to the Class of 2013 as not just students but “extensions of her own family.” As part of her speech she urged them to follow their dreams, remember that what you do today is significant, remember life is about the journey, and follow your heart but heed your mind.
Junior/senior high school Principal Christina Ramsey led the award and scholarship portion of the program along with high school guidance counselor Megan Skillings, who presented the Lena B. Scholarship to a total of 12 graduating seniors. Each student is slated to receive a total of $208. Among the recipients were Trevor Martz, Samantha Clippinger, Nicole Cutchall, Olivia Mills, Paige Sechrist, Kaitlyn Whalen, Emily Horton, Shayla Carmack, Mat-thew Bricker, Corrina Parsons, Jessica Jenkins and Hailey Berkstresser.
Other awards handed out on May 31 were: