State College Area High School's 2017 graduation ceremony
School: State College Area High School
Number of graduates: 546
Graduation location: Bryce Jordan Center
Colors: All students wore maroon caps and gowns, with maroon and gray tassels.
Principal: Curtis Johnson
Valedictorian: Kristine Lai, who will attend the University of Pennsylvania
Salutatorian: Joseph Feffer, who will attend Harvard
What they’ll miss most: Mia Yeckley, 18, will attend Penn State next school year to study accounting. She said some of the best things to come out of high school were relationships with teachers who she said helped her get to where she is now. “I did a lot with Cisco (programing) and it allowed me to learn about finance and help run the finance at school and balance budgets,” she said. Yeckley added that one of the teachers she’ll miss most is Cisco networking and IT entrepreneurship teacher Chris Pechtold.
Best high school memories: Just a day before graduation Saturday morning, Liam Jones, 18, performed in the school’s Battle of the Bands competition with his band John and the Fossils. They placed third — the first time the band ever placed. Jones will study next school year at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Friend and classmate Marcel Frances, 18, said one of his best high school memories is from wrestling during his freshman year. “I remember we entered a tournament and had so many extra kids, we were able to form a second team,” Francis said. He added that not only did the original State High team finish first, but the second team was also so good that had it been allowed, they would have matched up against their own school in the finals.
Tips for underclassmen: If students work hard early in their high school careers, it generally pays off, Kasey Fiochetta, 17, said. “Take time to study when you’re a freshman, sophomore and junior; that way, by the time you’re a senior, it will be a little more relaxing and you don’t have to rush to get your requirements done,” she said.