Kennett’s Class of 2018 graduates al fresco

Seniors await the signal to be seated.
Seniors await the signal to be seated. Chris Barber — Digital First Media

KENNETT SQUARE >> When Pierre DuPont founded Kennett Consolidated School (now the high school), it’s almost as if he envisioned a regal commencement ceremony in which the graduates proceeded down wide steps to greet their audience. And so, on Friday, as in years past, the senior class, having met the requirements for graduation, descended arm-in-arm with partners and flowers out the front door, down that impressive stone stairway and onto the green out front. The familiar landscape of their home town formed the backdrop.

The crowd that greeted them was huge, and the mood almost picnic-like, filling the front lawn and spilling into the driveway. Some fiends and relatives of the seniors had congratulatory balloons, while others waved small banners.

Administrators and speakers addressed the crowd from the fenced patio adjacent to the top driveway under skies that — thanks to some good fortune — almost always clear for the occasion.

Eliane Esparza-Villarruel, class of 2018, delivered the invocation and led the Pledge of Allegiance. She spoke of gratitude, both to parents, teachers and all the support systems that brought them to the point of graduation.

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James Rosser, tenor, sang the National Anthem.

Class President Delaney Joyce welcomed the guests, praising the district and her class. Referring to the strong ethnic variety of students in the district, she said she is proud that Kennett represents the real world and prepares all its graduates for success.

The commencement speakers followed the themes in turn of “create, strive, climb and persevere,” but their speeches also followed a loose time line of their 13 years of education at Kennett.

Meghann LaCosta took a look back at the earliest grades of the class, saying that throughout their years the community and school has harbored growth, but now it is time to face new challenges out of school.

Ryley Harris spoke of the character of the class, saying they have made a difference in their community and has faced challenges without giving up.

Alison Taylor talked about the ambivalence of achieving success while sometimes also meeting defeat. She they now have the chance for new aspirations, and as in the past they will receive help for achieving some but not others. Keep climbing, she told them.

Eric Gaver said the class has exhibited resilience through the years. They have faced hardships, but the falls have made them strong and played a role in their lives.

Victoria Gonzalez, Sarah Ploener and Abigail Duckworth played a clarinet-piano trio called “Butterflies.”

Superintendent Barry Tomasetti introduced the actual presentation of diplomas telling the class he is proud of them. He advised, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t stop learning.”

Three-hundred thirty-nine seniors — a record — proceeded to the stage to pick up their diplomas from School Board President Joseph Meola, who spoke a few words beforehand.

He said he had been impressed with statements he heard from the mayor of Pittsburgh at his daughter’s graduation and advised this audience to check them out. Among other things he quoted several dichotomies: “The good you do today with be forgotten; do good anyway.”

Bringing up the rear of the parade of graduates was Elizabeth Ely from the class of 2002 inviting them to join the alumni association. “You will always be a Blue Demon,” she said.

Colleen Allen read an impressive list of awards individuals in the class had earned, including Rupert Cup for winner for outstanding achievement and service Erin Duffy.

About the Author

Chris Barber

Chris Barber is the editor of the Avon Grove Sun. She was previously southern bureau chief of the Daily Local News and editor of the Kennett Paper, earning honors in writing and photography. Reach the author at agsun@kennettpaper.com .