We’re all in this together

The mes­sage to more than 400 Quakertown grads: “Your suc­cess is my suc­cess, and my suc­cess is your success.” 

After 16 months of being kept apart and some­times feel­ing iso­lat­ed by a pan­dem­ic ter­ri­bly dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate, Quakertown Community High School grad­u­ates heard how the resilience and com­mit­ment they dis­played to one anoth­er in the last two school years will help them suc­ceed in an ever-changing world.

Speaker after speak­er, begin­ning with Principal Mattias van’t Hoenderdaal and con­tin­u­ing with class lead­ers Matthew Catalano, Emily Maceri, Elizabeth Hilton and advi­sor Barry Stoneback echoed a theme they heard from Mr. V on the first day of school.

Your suc­cess is my suc­cess, and my suc­cess is your suc­cess,” Matt said, recall­ing Mr. V’s words.

This idea of col­lab­o­ra­tion, and rely­ing on each oth­er to achieve some­thing greater than we ever could have achieved as indi­vid­u­als, has been a com­mon theme through­out our time togeth­er, and will hope­ful­ly con­tin­ue for the rest of our lives,” Matt said. 

More than 400 QCHS seniors grad­u­at­ed as the Class of 2021 at Alumni Field Friday night. Three days after the com­mu­ni­ty ral­lied with sup­port in a Graduation Parade down Park Avenue, grads were sur­prised with a fire­works dis­play fol­low­ing the cel­e­bra­to­ry toss­ing of caps into the air.

What a fan­tas­tic night,” Mr. V said. “A won­der­ful night for our stu­dents and their families.”

The emo­tion­al evening includ­ed the award­ing of the late Gavin Stewart’s diplo­ma to his mom, who walked on the stage to receive it.

In the Class of 2021:

  • 57 seniors earned mem­ber­ship in the National Honor Society.
  • 15 seniors earned mem­ber­ship in the National Technical Honor Society, includ­ing Pennsylvania’s first career and tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion Presidential Scholar, Raymond Slifer.
  • 58 achieved Advanced Placement Scholar recog­ni­tion by their 11th-grade year, includ­ing eight with Honors, 23 with Distinction, and two AP National Scholars, Rachel Anderson and Matthew Catalano.
  • Five stu­dents earned AP Capstone diplo­mas: Kyle Harwick, Elizabeth Hilton, Ella Lucabaugh, Elena Martinez and Alexa Scheetz. 
  • QCHS pre­sent­ed 94 local­ly spon­sored awards and schol­ar­ships to 92 seniors worth more than $55,000.
  • 10 stu­dents com­mit­ted to serve our coun­try in the Armed Forces: Ethan Ericksen, Aric Exposito, Clark Harris, Emily Maceri, Noah Marsh, Patrick McCoy, Max Pacella, Kieshla Rodriguez, Michael Staudenmeier and Caleb Rorrer.

There is no bet­ter time to enter the world than today,” Mr. V said. “There is no bet­ter time to make your mark.  Class of 2021, now is the time to learn, now is the time to con­tribute.  Keep acquir­ing those skills that enable you to be resilient and adapt­able, and per­haps you will trans­form your world.”

Elizabeth Hilton’s mes­sage to her class: “No mat­ter where we go or what we do we feed on com­mu­nal suc­cess. I know for a fact that I would not be suc­cess­ful with­out the sup­port of my fam­i­ly, the encour­age­ment of my peers, and the influ­ence of my teach­ers, and to that my suc­cess is their suc­cess, and their suc­cess is my suc­cess. As we sat in the audi­to­ri­um half-listening to Mr. V preach this in our minds, nev­er did I think it would have an ever­last­ing impact, and I real­ly nev­er thought it would reap­pear in a grad­u­a­tion speech, but here we are so shoutout to him.”

Emily Maceri said: “I am proud to be a Panther because amidst all of these hard­ships caused by COVID-19 our class was able to make the most of our remain­ing high school years. I attribute that to the tenac­i­ty, grit, and resilience that each and every one of you demon­strat­ed dur­ing these try­ing times. These char­ac­ter­is­tics are of the utmost impor­tance and will car­ry you far in life, no mat­ter what path you have chosen.”

Mr. Stoneback, who advised the class with Sandi Frisch, Stacie Schantz and Chris Roth, said he has met many fam­i­lies of his stu­dents and he’s found “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

But he asked stu­dents to remem­ber that “your tree isn’t just your own blood, but all of those peo­ple who you have cho­sen to be a part of that tree. Keep peo­ple in it that will always lift you up and sup­port you, espe­cial­ly at your worst times.”

Mr. Stoneback also thanked stu­dents for being his inspi­ra­tion. “Thank you for inspir­ing me again. Thank you for just being you. If you con­tin­ue to do that, it’s all the advice you real­ly need. We are all so very proud of you. I real­ly love you guys and I am going to miss you.”