PRHS Seniors are Now Graduates







Pine-Richland High School seniors became graduates on Friday, June 2, 2017. Families, friends and 362 seniors packed the stadium.  (Watch PRTV's broadcast of commencement.)  The high school named senior Joseph Mullen as this year’s valedictorian with senior Kendall Pomerleau as salutatorian and senior Amanda Labuda as tertiary.

In addition to those seniors, seniors that rounded out the top 10 percent of the class included: Noah Adams, Grace Antol, Juliano Avolio, Arushi Bandi, Claire Casalnova, Alexa Chavara, Emma Cottrill, Sarah Dawson, Allyson DeMarco, David Fassler, Terrence Frey, Ellis Fritz, Gwendolyn George, Katlyn Goertler, Evan Juncal, Hyun-Young Kim, Richard Kwon, Rita Lakhssassi, Evan Luellen, Casey Mann, John Michel, Alec Muchnok, Savannah Null, Ryan Okuda, Joshua Pantanowitz, Andrew Reich, Brendan Scheller, Julia Solomon, Allison Staresinic, Jason Steranko, Lance Todorowski, Isabella Villella and Alyssa Vrana.

More than 88% are going on to study at universities and colleges in 28 states including prestigious institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University, US Naval Academy and another the US Military Academy West Point.   This year’s class earned more than $8 million in merit scholarships.

Speakers included: Pine-Richland School Board President Jeffrey Banyas, Pine-Richland School District Superintendent Brian Miller, Ed.D., Pine-Richland High School Principal Nancy Bowman and Teacher Andrew Dugger, faculty speaker.

Student speakers included Student Government Vice President Hunter Baxter with the welcome, Valedictorian Joseph Mullen, Salutatorian Kendall Pomerleau, Tertiary Amanda Labuda, Class President Ellis Frtiz who introduced the faculty speaker and Student Government President Abigail Hinson issued a farewell and passed the gavel down to 2017-218 Student Government President Rhys Rocher. In addition, Class Vice President Kaitlyn Dorundo, made a special presentation to the Class of 2029. She presented donations to each elementary library on behalf of the Class of 2017. Hance Elementary kindergartner Kaia Ferderber, Richland Elementary kindergartener Garrett Schumacher and Wexford Kindergartner Charles Arbuckle accepted the donations on behalf of the Class of 2029.

This year’s graduation speeches focused on gratitude for those who support students on a daily basis including custodians, secretaries, counselors, teachers, administrators and parents and community members to name just a few.

Valedictorian Joseph Mullen said the relationships with fellow students, teachers, counselors and administrators were by far the most valuable part of his experience.”

“I learned so much content from my teachers, but it is their positive attitude and passion for their profession that I will remember most as I move forward in life,” said Valedictorian Joseph Mullen.

 Tertiary Amanda Labuda urged graduates to be eager to start their lives with an open heart.

“You have the power to help others through acts of kindness,” said Amanda.

Salutatorian Kendall Pomerleau talked about the trinkets she has collected through the years, and pointed out that they are not what pushes her forward, it is the experiences.

“The trinkets are precious reminders of past,” she said. “It is our experiences that drives our future.”

Class Vice President Kaitlyn Dorundo spoke about how the school has produced so many amazing students and made note of the many causes that the students led the charge such as raising $8,000 for childhood cancer.

“The students are connected to so many causes,” she said.

Students chose Teacher Andrew Dugger as the 2017 faculty speaker, who reminded students that life is not going to be that easy and offered a bit of advice.

“Those troubling times are going to pass and leave you stronger,” Mr. Dugger said. “Surround yourself with people that make you better.”

Board President Jeffrey Banyas asked the audience to visualize a large multi-tiered cake with the base being represented by parents, families, community, and staff members who work tirelessly to direct the mission of education.

“They are the ones that directly dispense the mission of education for our students, the top tier of the cake,” said Dr. Banyas. “Without them, the cake would collapse. Never forget those who support you.”

Dr. Brian Miller, superintendent, reminded everyone of the district’s deep roots and within the district there are many examples of multi-generation families including the Croskey family.

“(Members of the Class of 2017) will join new communities,” Dr. Miller said. “Have the confidence that you are well prepared. The Pine-Richland High School Diploma means a lot because of those who have come before you. As we heard tonight, there is much evidence that you have added to that history. Because of you that diploma will continue to hold meaning.”

After Dr. Miller and Dr. Banyas handed out the diplomas, Principal Nancy Bowman officially declared the members of the PRHS Class of 2017 as graduates.

“At this time I am proud to declare seniors of the Class of 2017 as graduates of Pine-Richland High School,” Mrs. Bowman said.