Ridgway Area High School held its graduation ceremony Sunday afternoon at Memorial Field.
A total of 92 students graduated from the RHS Class of 2012. Ryan Patrick McClelland was the class president and spoke about the friendships he began to develop in high school.
Starting off in preschool, I considered myself to be a bit of a loner, sort of like a 1-man wolfpack," McClelland said. "Moving all the time, I couldn't find the right wolves to invite to my wolfpack. However, coming into Ridgway High School my freshman year, I found that wolfpack. Meeting all sorts of people from community service opportunities, job shadows, sporting events, school, everything in between, I was able to develop friendships with everyone that no one can take away from me."
McClelland named memories the class created together.
"The four years of high school were certainly extravagant," McClelland said. "The dances, pep rallies, trips to Washington, D.C. New York City, I will always remember the memories we shared as a class, the Class of 2012. Unfortunately, it's time for each and every one of us to leave high school and start a new chapter in our lives. Whether it's college, enlisting in the Army, Navy, Marines or the Air Force. We begin our dream of becoming who we want to be."
McClelland gave advice to the future seniors on how to make high school the most it can be.
"Stay after school, it actually helps," McClelland said. "Get to know your teachers because they're simply great to be around. Follow the rules, if you follow them, you don't get in trouble, plain and simple. Stay active, whether it's sports, band, a play, clubs, et cetera, you meet lots of people and it's lots of fun. High school is what you make it. Make it the best times of your lives like the Class of 2012 did."
Ridgway Area High School principal Heather McMahon-Vargas welcomed the administration, support staff, family and friends, and recognized the parents of the graduates.
"Your parents have given you the love and support over the past 18 years of your life," McMahon-Vargas said. "It has been with their love and support along with your hard work and perseverance that has enabled you to achieve this milestone."
McMahon-Vargas told the students to take pride in this accomplishment.
"When you are presented with your diploma, you can take pride in knowing that it wasn't given to you, you earned it," McMahon-Vargas said. "You have worked hard to earn it. There are 92 sitting here and for some, this journey has been a bumpy one. For others, it was smooth sailing. Regardless of how you came to be here this afternoon, I am very proud of each and every one of you."
McMahon-Vargas spoke of the many accomplishments done by members of this graduating class.
"As individuals, you have made significant contributions to the Ridgway Area School District," McMahon-Vargas said. "As intellectuals, you successfully competed in Model U.N. and Mock Trial, and Science Olympiad. You came to us with experience in keyboarding, gaming and PowerPoint and you're leaving us in an era of AniMoto, Facebook, Flash Mobs, iPhone, tweeting and blogging. You made the honor roll, were named to the National Honor Society, Who's Who Among American High School Students, earned scholarships and awards that will support you in your pursuit of higher education. On the courts and fields, you have demonstrated phenomenal athletic talent and drive. You've won county tournaments, you competed and won at the district level of competition as individuals and as teams and you competed and placed at the state level of competition.
"As artists, you will forever be immortalized in the classrooms on our school walls and on our stages," McMahon-Vargas said. "You displayed your incredible artistic abilities in art, music and drama. Your image adorns the entranceway of FSG with Dr. Seuss' 'Cat in the Hat.' You starred in 'My Fair Lady.' You displayed your talents as window painters and did a nice job. You became accomplished artists, participating in the first annual RHS Art Exhibit. You supported athletic teams with your own version of a pep band."
Pick up a copy of the Tuesday, May 29, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.