Entering the World

JOHNSTOWN – Family and friends filled the bleachers and lawn at Knox Field on Saturday to watch the 133rd commencement ceremony for the Johnstown High School class of 2014.

More than 120 graduates received their diplomas to the cheers of family, friends and well-wishers as the warm Saturday morning sun beat down on the ceremony.

Noah Western, graduate, said he was happy to finally graduate, and plans to sign up with the United States Air Force in the fall.

“I have a lot of mixed emotions about it; it has been a long time coming,” Western said. “I feel like an adult now.”

Tiffany Henderson, mother of Kale Henderson, said she was happy to see her son finally graduate.

“It is such a pleasure; it is a joy,” Henderson said.

Ellen Praught, the president of the class of 2014, spoke to the crowd, thanking everyone involved in the students’ lives. Praught left the students still in school with a piece of advice.

“Take this great school district to the fullest. If you are an athlete, try some music. If you are a musician, try a sport. Find out if you’re an artist. Join a club, get involved and live your years at Johnstown as full as [I did],” Praught said.

Valedictorian Serena Smith stressed to the students the importance of not making the right decision, but making the decision right.

“One of the most important keys to happiness is being able to separate internal happiness from external environments. So in other words, don’t let the fact that you didn’t get the score you wanted on that test, or someone said something negative about you, or your parents got on your nerves, get you down.” Smith said.

“Likewise, don’t let winning the Lotto, getting a raise or getting a new phone be the main sources of your happiness. Instead, we need to first and foremost be able to love ourselves for who we are and respect our individual merits in order to be truly happy, despite the inevitable, but temporary, bumps and bruises along the way.”

Salutatorian Jenna Salisbury spoke about how students should not hold onto their mistakes from the past, stressing the graduates would be facing a lot of challenges in their lives.

“We are new to the adult world, and face pressures of making a good first impression, but we still have a lot to figure out,” Salisbury said.

JHS Principal Michael Beatty and Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent Robert DeLilli also spoke at the commencement. Paul VanDenburgh, Johnstown Board of Education president, congratulated the graduates.

“There have been many challenges on your path to graduation. Hundreds of tests, quizzes, homework and sporting events to name a few,” VanDenburgh said. “Well done navigating that course.”