For the Bellefonte Area High School Class of 2014, Wednesday was both the last day of class and the day they walked the stage — something to which most looked forward.
NUMBER OF GRADUATES: 176.
WHERE: Bellefonte Area High School gymnasium.
COLORS: Girls wore white caps and gowns, and the boys wore red. The tassels were a mix of red and white, with a gold 2014 medallion dangling from it.
VALEDICTORIAN: Joshua Cetnar, 17, graduated with a 101.7348 percent. He will attend the Penn State Schreyer Honors College for engineering science.
SALUTATORIAN: Sarah Horner, 18, graduated with a 99.47 percent. She will attend Penn State for music education.
MUSIC: The Bellefonte band played musical numbers for the packed gymnasium that included “God Bless America.” Sir Edward Elgar’s “ Pomp and Circumstance March No.1” followed as the seniors took their seats on the basketball court. The Star-Spangled Banner and the alma mater preceded the graduation march.
GUEST SPEAKER: Penn State hockey coach Guy Gadowsky addressed the graduates during the ceremony.
POP CULTURE REFERENCE: Class President Grant Stone, 18, took the podium and thanked his classmates for their continued support.
He even said he would miss his friends, the school that helped shape him and singing Justin Bieber tunes as a joke with his peers.
Cetnar also spoke to his class about making the most of high school, because it goes by fast. He urged his fellow graduates and those younger than him to always make the most of each opportunity.
But before he ended his speech to introduce Horner, he turned around and took a “selfie” with his face in the foreground and his fellow graduates in the back.
WORDS OF ADVICE: Many graduates are urging underclassmen to enjoy their time at school — because it flies by.
Stone said to have fun, but be smart about it.
“You have one life to live — live it,” he said. “Do what you enjoy and get involved. It will take you further in life.”
Classmate Emily Kerstetter had a similar response.
“The time goes by so fast,” she said. “Enjoy it and do the best you can because it pays off.”
Kerstetter, who will be attending Penn State for immunology and infectious diseases, also added that people should cherish friendships they’ve made.
Tanner Day, 17, is graduating a year early.
He said the sooner you finish classes and better you do, the quicker you get out of high school.
“I enjoyed it, but I’m ready to be out,” Day said. “I just encourage them to get their homework done and work hard at school. It’s good to get it out of the way.”
Day will attend Lock Haven University for business administration and hopes to also attend a trade school for automotive work.
A MEMORY: Zach Dann, 18, said one of his favorite memories is working with his “favorite teacher,” Myken Poorman.
He had Poorman for agriculture and said class was always fun. While he worked on farms growing up, he said the class taught him new things.
Dann will attend Penn State for forest ecosystem management.
WHAT THEY’LL MISS: A majority of the graduates said they’ll miss seeing friends and teachers.
Doylan Deitrich, 18, said he’ll miss football and hanging with his “buddies” the most.
“It’ll be weird because you see the same people and spend your day with friends all day, then things will change,” he said. “I got some friends, so I’ll miss that.”
Austin Cable, 18, took classes at Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, but walked the stage with the Bellefonte Class of 2014.
He said he’ll miss the personal relationships made with teachers that he might not get once he goes to University of Northwestern Ohio in the fall.
“I’m not sure I’ll miss the high school as much as I will (miss) CPI,” he said. “It was a good way to prepare us for the future and what we’ll learn when we’re done.”
Cable will study diesel technology — something he is familiar with from classes at CPI.
HOW THEY FELT: Graduation wasn’t quite sinking in for those students who walked the stage Wednesday night.
But for their parents, it already hit them.
Karah Mothersbaugh, 18, said her mother already started “getting emotional” the morning of graduation while the grad said it hasn’t fazed her quite yet.
“It’s exciting, but a little surreal,” she said. “Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and then realize I finally graduated.”
Mothersbaugh will attend Penn State in the fall.
Classmate Alayni Caprio said graduation is a nice way to be recognized for achievements.
“We work hard to get to this point,” she said. “I hope they (underclassmen) will realize a little fun and hard work can pay off.”
Caprio will attend Empire School of Beauty for hair and makeup.
HOW PARENTS FELT: It was a bittersweet moment for Pam Callahan.
Between her and husband, George Callahan, they have six kids. This was her last child graduating.
“I’m proud,” Pam Callahan said of her son Christian Hopple, 17. “He’s the last to graduate so it’s exciting, but a little sad.”
Hopple will be attending Penn State’s School of Theater. He was involved in drama, track and cross-country while he was a Red Raider.