Penns Valley

On Centre: Penns Valley | High school students make commitment to graduate

It wasn’t the kind of vow that first comes to mind, but on Tuesday, the Penns Valley Area High School Class of 2018 made a commitment to graduate.

Each of the about 118 freshmen took a black marker and signed their names on a white graduation gown that will be showcased at the high school.

This was the second class to participate in the activity and afternoon assembly as part of a tradition the high school coordinates in partnership with Jostens.

Scott Geesey, a Jostens’ Educator Services ambassador, held a 35-minute seminar that demonstrated the importance of earning a high school diploma.

It included video clips and speeches on various topics freshmen “need to know” when entering high school, Vice Principal Laura Tobias said.

“It was one of those things that showed the freshmen are not alone in learning the way of high school,” Tobias said. “In a way it was comforting … it was important because it showed that everyone has been through this and is going through this, but it also shows them not to give up, because of how important it is to have your high school diploma.”

Tobias said statistics show that about 1 in 3 high school students in the country don’t earn their high school diploma. In Pennsylvania, about 170 students drop out of school daily, she added.

Tobias also said statistics show that individuals with their high school diploma will make about $1 million in their lifetime, while those without a high school diploma only make a little more than $600,000 from work.

“The whole economics part of it put things in perspective,” Tobias said.

Each freshman participant was also given a green C2G rubber bracelet that signified his or her “commitment to graduate.”

“It went well,” Tobias said. “You could see the excitement on the students’ faces and we think that in four years and they look back and see their names on that gown, that they achieved something.”

According to the state Department of Education, Penns Valley has a 90.3 percent graduation rate.