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Upper Perkiomen Celebrates the Graduating Class of 2017
Written by Abby Glifford, Correspondent

            Friends and family filled the Upper Perkiomen High School gymnasium June 8 to celebrate the graduation of the 2017 senior class.

            "It was a really exciting night being surrounded by the people I have known since kindergarten. I can't wait to see what the future holds for everyone," graduate Gabby Martin said.

            The graduating class of 2017 left its mark on the history of Upper Perkiomen High School, as the students joined the ranks of Upper Perk alumni and looked toward their futures.

            Of the 205 students who graduated, 100 are enrolled in a four-, five-, or six-year bachelor's or master's degree program. Thirty-eight students will work toward an associate's degree or attend a technical program. Four students will enter the military.

            Thirty-nine seniors who attended the Western Montgomery Career and Technology Center received a certificate of completion at the ceremony, while 15 taking courses at the center received a certificate of participation.

The graduating class received a total of $46,000 in local scholarships and more than $644,215 in private scholarships.

"In summary, 138 students – or 67 percent of students – will be continuing their education beyond high school," Principal Robert Carpenter said.

            Superintendent Alexis McGloin spoke to the graduates about the uncertainty, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 

            "There will be times in your life where you are faced with adversity, but through perseverance you can overcome any obstacle," McGloin told the students.

            Valedictorian Alexis Shanley brought words of encouragement and hope to her classmates. "I wish all of you the best of luck and much success, no matter what you decide to pursue. I know that we as a generation are going to do great things and I couldn't be more thrilled," she said.

            Other speakers, including seniors Joshua Landis and Nicholas Tedesco, spoke of growing up and moving on from routines.

            "Memories and knowledge gained during our time at Upper Perk will certainly be appreciated in the future. Chemistry majors, such as myself, will look back at Ms. Schoelkopf's class and silently thank her for all the work she put us through," Tedesco said.

            Class President Pooja Girwarr praised teachers for their endless support, time and effort to prepare students for their futures.

            "It's because of people like you who look for the beauty, the progress, the challenge and the knowing that's it's going to be a fight to live an interesting life, but a fight worth fighting for; And, for that, on behalf of the class of 2017, I say, 'Thank you,'" Girwarr said.

            This year's commencement exercises marked the first time that all students wore navy blue caps and gowns; in previous years, males wore blue and females wore white.

            "In the long run, changing the gowns makes a lot more sense because it unifies us as a class, is more inclusive and is easier for the office to organize the ceremony" graduate Elizabeth Pierson said. "At the end of the night I don't think anyone was focused on what color we were wearing, but the fact that we were closing another chapter in our lives."






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