NEWARK, DEL. – The atmosphere was festive as the 442 graduating seniors from Avon Grove High School received their diplomas during commencement ceremonies on Wednesday at the University of Delaware Carpenter Center.
“It’s a monumental ritual,” said senior Asa Budnick said as he waited in the halls prior to the procession into the gymnasium. “I guess the thing about graduation is, it’s a group event and everyone is here together to celebrate the same thing, yet it’s also very much a celebration of the individual and what we have achieved and the identity that we’ve crafted over these last four years,”
“It’s great because it’s celebrating all of our work that we accomplished in high school and it’s kind of the next step in our lives,” senior Margo Blake said as she waited for Pomp and Circumstance to begin.
“It’s very exciting. It’s amazing everything we’ve accomplished this fall,” classmate Jena Beddoe agreed.
Student speakers were more lighthearted than serious in their words to the crowd of family members and friends who came to share the occasion with them.
“Graduation is a neat time in our lives. Everything stands still. We have an opportunity to look back at our past without worrying about our future,” Valedictorian Marcus Forst told the audience. “I’m glad I have this opportunity to look back and celebrate with all of you.”
Salutatorian Ethan Phillips entitled his speech “I’m Not One for Words.”
“I didn’t necessarily strive to be salutatorian or valedictorian, I would be happy to be number three or four. Then I wouldn’t have to make a speech,” he quipped. “I’m honored this many people are being forced to listen to me.”
In spite of his humor, Phillips ended his remarks with some very sound advice for his classmates. “Do what you like, like what you do, don’t rush, and have fun.”
Senior speakers Maggie Winter and Kristian Grier did a joint speech for the audience, recalling some of the social highlights and important moments that bind the members of the class of 2014 together.
The Senior Ensemble, let by Alexandra Taylor and Noah Mogaka performed “For Good,” accompanied by Tyler Meade. Also speaking were senior Edgar Garcia Elizalde and Senior Class President Nathaniel Howard.
Howard added a somber moment in his remarks when he recalled the tragic car accident that changed the lives of classmates Zach Trexler and Megan Whitman.
“At any moment, life can throw you a curve ball,” he said, recalling how class members rallied together as a family and supported each other with the baseball team dedicating its winning season to Trexler.
“No matter where life takes us, this will always be home.”