Grads told to lean on the relationships made

Johnstown High School class of 2017 graduates file into commencement Saturday at Knox Field. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown High School class of 2017 valedictorian Daniel Jarabek talked about many long-lasting relationships he acquired during his student and family life at the 136th JHS Commencement Ceremonies on Saturday at Knox Field.

Fireworks concluded the graduation ceremony under pleasant skies.

A total of 130 graduates received diplomas from Greater Johnstown School District President Kathryn Zajicek, including Jarabek, who recounted several high school experiences.

“In that time, we have shared endless laughter, constant drama, never-ending mental breakdowns, numerous all-nighters and so much more,” Jarabek stated. “But behind the tears, the sweat, the fights, and the hugs, we developed relationships that will impact the rest of our lives. Relationships with teammates winning a [penalty kick] shootout or hitting a home run. Relationships with teachers guiding us through our toughest days, but also pushing us to succeed every step of the way. Relationships with our parents and family believing in us when we did not believe in ourselves. Relationships that changed and will continue to change our perspective of the world. These relationships are the reason we can finally say we made it.”

Jarabek also told of a touching relationship he had with his grandmother. He said her “bucket list” including seeing him graduate, but she passed away three months ago.

“Although she was not able to complete her final goal in life, she constantly showed me how to live life to the fullest and appreciate everything we are given” Jarabek said.

Salutatorian Chloe Salisbury spoke of how graduation means different things to different people.

“But it is also a day to start connecting your deep interests and skills which include but are not limited to mastering the art of procrastination and using Sparknotes,’ she said. “So provoke change, be prudent and apply your passions and purpose to a higher cause because the future awaits.”

JHS class of 2017 president, Chelsea Cirillo, stated, “We are all moving onto a new chapter of our lives, whether you are attending college, beginning a career, joining the military, or starting a family. Give it 110 percent.”

Presiding over JHS’s commencement was high school Principal Scott Hale, who said today’s society is full of “fads.”

“Class of 2017, you have faced many challenges,” he said. “I challenge all 130 of you to be great.”

But Hale told the class that even if they attain greatness “do not stop.”

“Share it around, Johnstown, share it around the country, share it around the globe,” the principal said.

Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Patricia Kilburn told the class: “Graduation from high school is a milestone.” She congratulated them and encouraged the graduates to develop integrity and make it a “top priority,” practice courage and take “worthy risks,” and practice forgiveness.

“I have no doubt each one of you will go on to do some amazing things,” Kilburn said.

Zajicek told the class that they will be leaving a “safe place” in their lives, but not to worry.

“I welcome you to this day of celebration,” she added.

She concluded, “No matter how far you go in life, may you always find your way home.”

The JHS Wind Ensemble performed the National Anthem, processional, alma mater and recessional.

Class of 2017 vice president, Sarah Martelle, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The JHS Choir sang “For Good.”

Kilburn, Hale and JHS Assistant Principal Corrine Cotter recognized award winners.

The JHS Wind Ensemble played a version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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