‘Have faith in your ability’
Words of inspiration and encouragement flowed June 3 as Whitehall High School’s 115th graduating class, comprised of more than 350 students, bid farewell to their lives as high school students and welcomed the challenges of the road ahead.
Held at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, the Whitehall-Coplay School District graduation ceremony began with a procession of students clad in the school’s maroon and gold to “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the Whitehall High School band.
District Superintendent Dr. Lorie D. Hackett gave opening remarks and offered thanks to the teachers, parents and friends of the Class of 2019. She credits them with “showing us light when we needed it the most.”
Student speaker Mariam Zaher discussed legacies and recognized the members of the Class of 1969, who were the evening’s honored guests and provided scholarships to two of the graduates.
“The Class of 1969 gave us a legacy of Vietnam veterans, civil rights activists and — my personal favorite — hippie buckskin vests with beads on the end,” Zaher said.
In tribute to those who had reached the 50th anniversary of their graduation, a rousing performance of “Stand By Me” was performed by the Whitehall High School Chorale, led by Edward Hong.
Samantha Ganser, valedictorian, spoke of the power of education, while Caterine Yunez-Cosme, salutatorian, encouraged students to overcome their fear with courage.
Nicholas Demjan, class president, urged his fellow classmates to find an inner voice to guide them in the years to come.
“After everything I have experienced and learned at my time at Whitehall, the most important thing I have realized is the power of my voice,” he said. “Personally, through student council, I have realized how important it is for each one of us to use any platform we are given to voice what we believe in.”
In his remarks, WHS Principal Nathan Davidson stressed the importance of courage as well, but also offered encouragement for graduates who will be entering an uncertain world outside of high school, one to which they will surely adapt.
He encouraged students to find inspiration in the challenges awaiting them.
“Do not shy away from those moments. Do not get lost in the details. Do not be deterred by the obstacles you see. Do not assume someone else will answer the call. Have faith in your ability, and have the courage to try and the belief that you were put there in that place at that time to make a difference — because your attitude and mindset matter,” Davidson said.
The Class of 2019 included 75 honor graduates, who maintained a four-year average of 4.0 or higher and were distinguished by their maroon and gold cords.