School: Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology
Graduating class: 2016
Number of grads: 121
Colors: All graduates wore black gowns. Some students had tassels linked to the zipper of their gowns with a gold 2016 medallion. Students who were in the National Technical Honor Society also wore a gray sash around their necks. This year, there were 30 NTHS members.
President: Richard Makin
Where: Cafeteria and multipurpose area at CPI
Student speakers: Kendall Bartley and Alexander Boyer
Keynote speakers: Superintendent Jeff Miles, of the Bald Eagle Area School District, and school board member Hank Yeagley, of the Penns Valley Area School District.
Moments: Numerous awards were given to students for their accomplishments, but this year’s CPI Outstanding Student Award went to Taylor Shook, of the Penns Valley Area School District. Shook, a horticulture and landscaping grad, was presented by Reliance Bank representatives with a $1,000 check and a plaque of distinction. Shook was also a CPI student ambassador and part of the NTHS. She also received an outstanding student award specific to her field of study. It was presented by instructor Joe Luther.
Student memories: Classmates Bartley and Boyer were speakers at this year’s graduation, but they also had one thing in common in their message: that the one thing connecting everyone in this year’s graduating class is their link to CPI. Bartley, president of student ambassadors, said her three years at CPI flew by. “We all knew this day would come, but didn’t realize it would come in the blink of an eye.” She said the one thing she’ll miss the most are the teachers at CPI who got her ready for the future. “We’re all doing something different — going to work, going into the military or going to college, but this is a place that provides great opportunity for the future. It’s the memories here that I’ll miss the most.” Boyer, a Bald Eagle Area student in the advertising and commercial arts program, elaborated on what Bartley highlighted, and said, “teachers and staff are one big team who go out of their way to make us better people and realize the potential we have.”
Graduation memory: For cosmetology graduate Karina Shaw, of the State College Area School District, graduation was a turning point in a life that she said came with many changes, including coming out as transgender. “I look at graduation like ‘I did it,’ ” she said. “To be at this point puts a dream into reality. It’s showing the naysayers that you can do it, and is the finale to all the dedication and hard work to something I have a ton of passion for.” Shaw enrolled this year at CPI with aspirations to continue the makeup arts. “I look at makeup like an art that can define who you are individually, and can show your sense of beauty. Pursuing this is my way of helping others with their self esteem. I like to think I can turn this talent into a gift for others, and I think CPI did a good job of helping us find our path and find potential in each student.”
Tips for underclassmen: Harley Packer, of the Bald Eagle Area School District, walked the stage Thursday. She studied cosmetology at CPI, and will continue her postsecondary education at CPI. Packer said all she needs is 323 hours to finish her certification. She also said she’s had three job interviews. But she said hard work is what got her to this point, and it’s something she encourages all students to do. “It’s all about the kind of work ethic you have,” Packer said. “I just also tell them not to be shy. It can look intimidating, but it’s not. ... I kind of look at CPI like a college that isn’t as serious. It’s fun and prepares you for the next step, and I’d encourage others to take advantage of what it offers.”