School: State College Area High School
Graduating class: 2016
Number of grads: 542
Colors: All graduates wore maroon caps and gowns. The gowns had a white ring around the sleeves, and a maroon and gray tassel hung from their caps. A silver-colored 2016 medallion also dangled from their tassels.
Principal: Curtis Johnson. This is his first graduating class since he became principal of State High.
Student speaker: Marisa Langton
Keynote speakers: Superintendent Bob O’Donnell and Johnson
Valedictorian: Mahima Kumara
Salutatorian: Jessica Ding
Graduation moment: Graduate Janelle Bullock kicked off commencement by singing the national anthem. O’Donnell also recognized 24 graduates who will be going into the military.
Student memories: Devin Thurston, 18, is doing something a little different than most students after high school. He said he’ll be headed to South Carolina to “track gators.” He said the opportunity became available with help from an acquaintance of his father. Thurston said he’ll also attend a community college in South Carolina, but added that there are some memories from high school he’s leaving behind. “I’m not sure I’ll miss the school part, but I had a really good time with my friends,” Thurston said. “It was a lot of fun, and a relief that it’s finally done, but will miss some times.” He added that he’ll also specifically miss two teachers, Scott Gettig and Dave Klindienst.
Graduation memory: Mark Weakland had mixed emotions about graduation. He said it’s something he was excited for, but also added that he’ll miss friends, and playing high school sports. Weakland played football, and was part of the track and field team. He’ll attend The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, in the fall to play football, and hopes to join the Marines. “It’s great to be finished, but there’s a lot I’ll miss,” he said. “I’m ready for what’s next.”
Tips for underclassmen: Nate Woodman, 18, said guidance from teachers like Jennifer Miller helped him find motivation to create his own lifestyle brand called Dolphin Apparel, which gives some proceeds to a charity. He’ll attend La Salle University in the fall to study finance and business and system analytics, and will also be a part of the swim team. He urges younger students to take advantage of the resources State High has to offer. “It definitely helped prepare me for the next step, but sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone to do what you set out to,” Woodman said. “I’d definitely say teachers here did a good job priming us for what’s next, so I’d encourage making relationships with those teachers.”