Florence Township High School Class of 2019 looks forward while paying reverence to past

Graduating seniors from Florence Township Memorial High School in get ready to throw their caps in the air during graduation on June 19. Photo by Andrew Harrison
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Graduating seniors from Florence Township Memorial High School in get ready to throw their caps in the air during graduation on June 19. Photo by Andrew Harrison

The Florence Township Memorial High School Class of 2019 delighted in the applauded echoes of family, friends and loved ones while the graduates prepare to take on the next step in their lives.

Adorned in blue and white gowns, 104 Florence High seniors gathered for one final time inside the school’s auditorium on June 19 to partake in commencement ceremonies for their graduation.

The Class of 2019 co-salutatorian, Nidhi Pantula, began the evening’s ceremony with an acknowledgment to her classmates as well as the parents, teachers and mentors for their contributed academic aid to the students.

“This chapter of our lives is coming to a close, and as all of these memories from the past four years have started to resurface in my mind, I encourage everyone to look back through the pages of your minds and reflect on your past at Florence High School,” Pantula said. “Florence High School has shaped us to become the people we are today, so it is our job to take what we have learned to maximize our potential for the future.”

Following Pantula’s speech, the other salutatorian, Troy Donnelly, reflected on the class’ academic and sporting achievements as well as the growth of the school’s extracurricular programs. Donnelly also touched upon the topic of paying reverence toward the memories the students had made together at the high school.

Although each student will set out on a new path beyond the halls of Florence High School, Donnelly pointed out that his classmates should be mindful of the how the Florence school community shaped them.

“We are all going to have significant changes in our lives coming up,” Donnelly said. “Whether it is furthering our education, work or military careers, each of us will be going in our own direction to pursue the very same talents that we have developed here at Florence High School. Now is the time to reflect upon the years we have shared together. We have come far, but we are still essentially the same kids we were 13 years ago. We still have wild, big dreams.”

After Donnelly’s speech, the Class of 2019 valedictorian, Elisabeth Cross took to the podium to address her graduating classmates.

Cross dedicated her valedictory speech to encourage her classmates to pursue their passions in their future career choice, and to approach it in a practical manner.

“I wholeheartedly believe that we should not disregard our passions when considering a job,” Cross said. “Even if we aren’t able to achieve our dream jobs, we can still pursue our passions in something related to our field of interest. Every job in the spotlight needs of myriad of people and different fields in order to be successful.”

Later in the ceremony, Florence High Principal John Cogan addressed the 2019 graduating class.

During his speech, Cogan not only touched on the achievements of the class’ involvement in extracurricular activities, but also noted their impact on people throughout the Florence Township community. The high school principal urged the students to set goals for their futures to help them better reach their personal achievements.

“All of what you have given during these four years has helped to make our school a better school,” Cogan said. “Your contributions have had a positive impact, and you have helped set the standard for those who will follow after you. As you prepare for your future, I ask you to set worthy goals and strive to develop your skills and potential.”

After Cogan’s speech, Florence Township School District Superintendent of Schools Donna Ambrosius addressed the graduating class with one final message.

Ambrosius noted that upon graduation, students will be entering upon a social climate unsurpassed by any other, and offered them words of advice to take on the future.

“Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart and strong enough to live the life you have always imagined,” Ambrosius said. “Take pride in how far you have come this evening, and have faith in how far you can go. Believe in yourself as we believe in you.”

Soon after Ambrosius’ address, the Class of 2019 received their diplomas, held a movement of the tassel led by class president, Wendy Nyugen, and became official graduates of Florence Township Memorial High School.