Mt. Pleasant Area to graduate 174

| Saturday, June 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

As they take their first steps toward the future, 174 seniors will graduate from Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Commencement ceremonies will be held in Viking Stadium, weather permitting. Otherwise, they will be moved indoors.

“This year, we say goodbye and best of luck to approximately 170 graduates,” Principal Kenneth Williams said. “The students from the Class of 2013 have demonstrated a great deal of personal growth and maturity over the years. They are a tremendous class, and I will truly miss them. The personalities among the class have a wide range, each as endearing and unique as the next. It instills a tremendous sense of pride in me when I look at their accomplishments and future plans, both individually and collectively.

“They have established themselves as more than simply worthy of receiving their high school diplomas,” he continued. “They have established themselves as role models for younger students to follow.”

The top two seniors in rank will be delivering commencement speeches this year to their fellow students as part of the program. The speeches will be based on the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Student speakers are Haylie Kromer and Cody Wiltrout.

Kromer, 18, is the top-ranking student in the graduation class and has been involved in Pollution Patrol, Art Club, Student Council, Spanish Club, SADD, Interact, Blackburn Center Advisory Committee, Art Honor Society, National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. She was also a student representative for the district's school board.

Also active in the community, Kromer participates in church activities at St. Florian parish, Christmas caroling, tutoring and several other volunteer activities.

Kromer has been active with the tennis team and takes ballet classes.

“I'm going to tell the students to live each day to its fullest, and it doesn't matter if you are going on to college or not: You are important,” Kromer said. “Find what makes you happy, and use that gift to make your mark on the community.”

Kromer is the daughter of D'Anna and Mike Kromer of Norvelt.

Second in rank is Wiltrout.

Wiltrout, 18, has been active in Student Council, was vice president of YEA, member of the Physics Club, National Honor Society, French Honor Society and Chess Club.

“I hope that I can inspire the students to push forward without boring them,” Wiltrout said, adding that he has added some light moments to his speech. “I put a little bit of humor in there, so I hope that works.”

Wiltrout noted that the district's teachers were helpful and inspirational.

“Some of my teachers were huge assets to me,” Wiltrout said. “Those teachers are what makes this school.”

Wiltrout said he is proud to be one of the last people who will address the students as part of the commencement ceremonies.

“I think that it's an honor to know that my speech will be one of the last memories that they take from high school,” he said.

Wiltrout is the son of Darlene and Robert Wiltrout of Mt. Pleasant.

“I wish them the best of luck in the future and hope they always remember their time as a Viking as being the foundation of their success in the future,” Williams said.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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