President Paul Mazza said the South Hills School of Businesses & Technology is unconventional, and thats the way it has always been since the school was founded in 1971.
That was evident Wednesday at the September 2012 commencement ceremony when Mazza hugged every graduate on stage, and the program organizers allowed cheering after each of the 122 names from the schools four sites.
The ceremony at The Penn Stater Conference Center and Hotel marked the first graduating class of the two-year medical assistant program enacted because of the demand for graduates in the medical field.
State Sen. Jake Cor-man, R-Benner Township, delivered the keynote speech telling the graduates to have goals and to always be good people.
If youre not striving for something youre falling behind, he said.
Graduate Jamie Kay Russler said she spent time after high school where she didnt know what she wanted to do.
After working in part-time, low-paying jobs that provided no benefits, she sought out the school that she remembered hearing about from her high school days.
Finding the Philipsburg location of South Hills close to her home, Russler fell in love with the small class sizes and intimate feel of the school.
The education they gave us is unbelievable, she said.
Lewistown campus graduate Christine Sulouff also addressed her peers, saying that they have come a long way and that the school has aptly prepared them for the workforce and to find employment.
We all stand proud and say to ourselves, We did it. We are on our way, she said.
A representative from each of the four schools were given a chance to speak with Sam Toney representing State College and Kirk Durban speaking for the Altoona graduates.
Of the 122 total, 28 students graduated with a 3.5 to a 3.74 grade point average and another 28 graduated with a 3.75 or higher.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan