Youngsville's Lilly Clough is presented with her diploma from Principal Paul Crider. Photo by Andy Close.

“Sense of Wonder”

June 9, 2023

YOUNGSVILLE, Pa. – It was the end of one journey and the beginning of another as Youngsville celebrated its graduating Class of 2023 at commencement on Friday at Mike Shine Field.

“I cannot help but feel a sense of wonder,” said class Valedictorian Olivia Darling. “We have come so far these last four years. It feels like we’ve been on this journey forever. We’ve overcome obstacles and faced many challenges, whether it was the start of COVID or when our bus broke down just two days ago on our senior trip in the middle of Ohio.”

See Darling’s full speech:

Darling said those challenges, and learning to overcome them, will only help the graduates as they move on to the next phase of their lives – some to college, others to the military, and more still to the workforce.

“Through it all, we have learned many life lessons,” Darling said. “We have come together to support one another. To lift each other up when times get hard, learning that we are stronger together than we could ever be alone. We must remind each other to be bold, be brave, and willing to take risks if we want to achieve our dreams.”

It’s a class that didn’t have a normal freshman year, as COVID swept the nation and wreaked havoc on a “normal” school year.

Through all the obstacles, they have preserved, and Salutatorian Shea Walton was quick to point out the pivotal role their teachers played in that.

“To our teachers and staff, thank you for your dedication,” Walton said. “I know we gave most of you gray hair, but hey, that’s why they make box dye, right? Most importantly, thank you for standing by us on the days we made you want to walk out and quit.”

See Walton’s full speech:

Brandon Sutton was the Historian, helping Principal Paul Crider during the presentation of the diplomas.

It’s a group that embodies their class motto, a quote from author Robert Brault: Enjoy the little things, because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.

“What does the future hold for us?” Walton asked. “Well I don’t know, I’m not a time traveler. But what I can say for certain is there will be difficulties. There will be times when you feel like you’re on top of the world and times when you feel like you’re at rock bottom. Through it all, you must keep going. The key is to not be afraid to fail. Failure is what leads to opportunity for growth and improvement.”

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