Bidding ‘the family’ goodbye

Seneca High graduation speakers cite school’s atmosphere

Seneca High School’s graduation ceremony on June 17 began with Karen O’Neil, director of athletics and student activities at Seneca, recognizing teachers, recent retirees and the Lenape board of education. 

“Thank you for your hard work, your time and your tireless dedication to the students of Seneca High School,” she said. 

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O’Neil also announced a moment of silence for lost Seneca classmates, including Jennifer White, who passed away in 2020. Members of the Air Force JROTC presented the school’s colors, followed by Seneca singers performing the  national anthem and school song. 

A welcoming address from student council President Tess Elizabeth Strittmatter alluded to memories and her lack of fondness for endings, especially that of her high-school class. 

“We’ve filled the time with friendships and bonds and memories that will last a lifetime,” she noted. “These valuable recollections make it hard to say goodbye.”

Strittmatter then introduced salutatorian Will Harris Feldscher, who touched on the hardships the Class of 2022 faced during the pandemic in the early part of their high-school careers and continued growth after graduation.

“While we are here today to celebrate education up until this point, which is a major accomplishment, it is also important for us to continue to learn long after high school,’ he said. “The world is going to continue changing and we have to stay well informed to keep up with it.”

Senior class President Joseph Henry Webb then shared heartfelt words with his classmates, even quoting the lead character in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” 

“Life moves pretty fast,” the character says. “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Webb also noted that it was a privilege and honor to be class president.

“All of you are what makes the Seneca family a reality, and not just a hashtag,” Webb added. “I challenge each and every one of you going forward to stay present and be prepared for the blessings and challenges that life has in store for you,”

O’Neil introduced valedictorian Courtney Alexis Winters, whose speech  acknowledged her experience with sports and finding her passion for learning. 

“You have the power to choose your future, to choose your game in life or even to change the game,” she remarked. “It might take a couple tries, a couple walks down different paths, but don’t stop walking until you find what you love.” Winters said. “No matter how long and hard the journey may be never settle for less than you deserve- wherever you end up, whatever you decide to do, may we always be the class of 2022,”

Junior class officers Peyton Dooley and Hannah Cutts then recognized the top 10 percent of the graduates and O’Neil cited students who got straight A’s all  four years of high school. She also pointed out military personnel in attendance and students who are pursuing the military after graduation. 

Seneca Principal Bradley Bauer mentioned that last year was his first as principal and how the pandemic affected the graduating class in sophomore year.

“You, the Class of 2022, gave me purpose in my job,” he said. “You are my why – why I do what I do. You will always be a special class to me.”

Assistant Superintendent Matthew Webb then presented the Class of ‘22 and mentioned his son. 

“He would never find a place like Seneca on the way home from a college visit in the fall,” he said. “We do have something very special here at Seneca, and It probably can’t be entirely replicated. But wherever you go next year,  wherever you end up, take a little Seneca spirit with you, with the goal of leaving people, places and things better than how you found them, by transferring what you’ve learned here; helping others, getting involved, volunteering, supporting each other.

“That’s how we build better communities,” Webb concluded. “Communities that you’re proud to be members of, just like you’ve done here at Seneca,”

Senior class officers and board members offered diplomas and the former  led the customary tassel ceremony.

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