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TAHS Class of 2003 enters the world

One hundred and fifty eight seniors walked down the aisle of the jam packed Tyrone High School Auditorium for the final time as students last night, and walked out of the auditorium as graduates.
In her welcome, TAHS Prinicpal Rebecca Erb spoke of how well this graduating class performed on the PSSA test they took as juniors. She spoke of their 89 percent scoring in writing, 81 percent scoring in reading and 65 percent scoring in mathmatics which puts this senior class well above the state averages for the PSSA tests.
In her welcome to the class and audience, Class of 2003 salutorian Morgann Davis talked about these (high school) being the best years of your life.
“High School isn’t always easy,” said Davis. “Things don’t always go the way you want them to. The reality of high school is something much more positive though. We have spent the last six years setting and reaching goals. Some of the success we obtained in high school we reached with teammates and friends, some we struggled to on our own. We have all celebrated our proudest moments when our dreams became reality, and while some stepped back, felt proud and were content with what they had done, most of us wanted to do more. The most important lesson we can learn from reaching goals is that there are more to attain.
“As we leave high school, it is important to look at the world around us and realize what is possible. The rest of our life lies ahead of us when we walk down these halls for the last time tonight. We will move on and set new ambitions, reaching them with some old companions who will remain in our lives and the new ones we will meet along the way. But as we reach new heights, may we always realize that one success is just the beginning of another, motivation to climb a small hill, or move another mountain. The next time you succeed, take a moment to celebrate, and then ask yourself what you want to achieve next.”
Davis then introduced Dr. Robert Wilson Charles, a member of the TAHS Class of 1963, the guest speaker for the evening.
Charles graduated with honors from TAHS, Bucknell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a doctorate in Geology. He later served in the United States Army and was awarded the Army Medal. He served as a research scientist at the Los Alamos National Labratory and was involved in the construction of nuclear warheads, weapons design and the development of technology for investigating whether other nations fufill their weapons control promises.
Charles started by putting himself where the Class of 2003 was sitting.
“Forty-years ago, actually 40-years ago on June 6, I sat where you sit today,” said Charles. “The Class of 1963 was the first class to graduate with a full year in this building. Previously we studied for five years at the Lincoln School where many of our parents studied and graduated.
“This is perhaps the first real watershed event in your life,” said Charles. “All of you will proceed into the future with a firm foundation in which to build a productive life. I have a few observations that may aid you in your journey.
“The first is to have long term goals,” he continued. “While this presentation uses careers as an example, the principles apply to any long-term goal. In the good old days, our yearbook was called “The Falcon”. In it, among other things, were the compilations of aspirations of the departing class. Some of these goals were well developed, some frivolous and some simply amusing. Perhaps the most important point is that some had a goal, or destination. Planning ahead is critical to success, after all Noah didn’t begin building the Ark after it started raining.
“At our 35th reunion in 1998, all were asked some information about their lives since graduation. Two-thirds of those who had specific goals in mind in 1963, and cared to disclose them, had attained these goals. As for those with career goals, many were still engaged in these 35 years later.”
Charles told the senior class to match its interests with a possible goal.
“You match aspirations with interests — not your abilities, which may come later,” said Charles. “Sometimes understanding one’s interests is not as trivial as it appears. You must know yourself. Just because you like to garden, does not mean you should be a farmer. Because you like to sing and dance, does not mean a Hollywood career. According to Thoreau many people go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. It takes an original person to analyze the seemingly obvious. To realize that you may not know where you are going is a great step to learning.”
The final point that Charles spoke of was to choose a pathway.
“Some pathways are obvious,” said Charles. “As a general rule, the most successful person is the one with the best information. Get training, get a job and get some experience. Training can be structured as in formal course work or informal from self-teaching, friends, parents and other mentors.
“Pathways can be indirect,” he continued. “Your interest tests may show many interests, some of which conflict. You may choose a goal suitable for a few years or decades that may suit other purposes. Should you choose this direction, plan for several careers and become comfortable with change. If ambiguity bothers you, this pathway will cause heartburn. A lottle constructive ambiguity is fine. Incidently, I followed this path.
“The moral to all this is that a lack of destination does not mean a pathway will work, having a destination means many pathways can work,” said Charles. “Nothing is written until you write it. According to former basketball player Larry Bird, a winner is someone who recognizes his God given talents, works his tail off to develop them and uses these skills to accomplish goals. Don’t wait for someone else. If you don’t peddle your own bicycle, you won’t move. Challenge the status quo. Set high goals. It is up to you to make the best of the training you have received at Tyrone Area High School.”
The valedictorian of the Class of 2003 Amber DelBaggio bid farewell on behalf of the senior class.
“Are you ready?” asked DelBaggio. “Ready to move to the next point of our lives? Ready to choose a career? Ready to make some of the most crucial decisions that affect the future?
“Each day of our lives we have made decisions that have led us to this auditorium this evening,” she said. “While the choice to roll out of bed instead of hitting the snooze alarm may have seemed very insignificant each day as we came to school, it is that very choice that has prevented some of our classmates from joining us today. We hold a great deal of power in our hands. Today, as we graduate, we are standing on the threshold of a new and different future. No longer will our days be dictated by the teachers and faculty of the Tyrone High School. We will now have to make a choice in the direction we would like to go. Whether it be to enter college or to get a job, no one else can make these decisions for us.
“We are at the age of great power,” DelBaggio stated. “What many do not realize is that although we are young today, we will soon be adults and leaders of tomorrow. Our opinions are going to be what matters. We will decide the fate of the future. We must make choices that will influence this society to fit the mold we have envisioned. It will not be easy though. Like the poem “The Drum” by Nikki Giovanni says, the world is a drum, tight and hard. Our society will not give us everything. We will have to work for what we want to accomplish in the world or in our lives. Achieving our goals will never be easy. I am reminded of a quote that states, ‘surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams we’re seeking require courage and risk taking. Learn from the turtle — it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck.’ This quote inspires us to not be afraid and strive towards our goals. On the journey to success, there will be many failures.
“Never be afraid to fail,” DelBaggio concluded. “Because without trials and tribulations, the taste of success would not be as sweet. Our choices are what will make our life. Only we have the power to choose the path that will make us happy. Remember there is no key to happiness. The door is always open.”
School board president Lee Stover presented the diplomas to the graduating Class of 2003 and class president Dan Grazier led the class in turning their tassels.
The theme for the evening was a journey. The TAHS Class of 2003 began embarking on the journey of adulthood last night.