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Tiny Class of 2012 celebrates big victories

May 17, 2012

The PAHS Class of 2012’s top three honor students are (front, from left) Sierra Milton, valedictorian; Anna Monyak, salutatorian; and Cassandra Cook, third honors student. With them are (back, from left) Principal David London, guidance counselor Emily Cassidy, Tonya and Dan Milton, Jan and Mike Monyak, Karen Cook, guidance counselor Jenny White and Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe. (Photo by Tom Chapin/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — One of the smallest classes in the history of Punxsutawney Area High School — 164 students — celebrated big accomplishments during the annual Class Night event Thursday.

More than half of the members of the PAHS Class of 2012 received awards and scholarships Thursday, and they also celebrated that despite its small numbers, it hosted the highest-grossing, most-profitable Variety Show in the history of the event, raising $19,425.84 — of which half will benefit the Margaret C. Boles Scholarship Foundation, and the other half will go toward the senior’s post-graduation party.

“Not only is this one of the brightest groups that we’ve had come through here, but they know how to make money,” PAHS Principal David London said about the successful Variety Show and the class’ collective efforts. “Maybe those two things go hand in hand.”

Prior to the presentation of awards and scholarships, guidance counselor Emily Cassidy announced the class’ three top honors students: Sierra Milton, valedictorian; Anna Monyak, salutatorian; and Cassandra Cook, third honors student.

She also said 31 members of the Class of 2012 carried grade point averages of 93 percent or higher over the past four years, while 39 students carried grade point averages of 90 percent or higher.

In presenting the Class Hearts honor to Landon Kauffman, son of Ed and Karen Kauffman of Hamilton, class President Alex Fedigan said the recipient of the award is chosen by the class for his or her contributions that exemplify caring and consideration to all at the school.

In his remarks, Kauffman thanked his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and family and classmates and said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Also speaking Thursday was Superintendent Dr. Keith Wolfe, who said despite a world that sometimes turns its attention to the ills perpetuated by the youth, this evening was a time to celebrate the Class of 2012’s hard work, dedication and success.

He said while Class Night is an annual event for awards and scholarship, he hopes it can also be viewed as an “ongoing focus of the
positive contributions by students.”

Class Night saw more than $130,000 in awards and scholarships given by businesses and community groups, Wolfe said, and that 73 percent of the class plans post-graduate studies, while 13 percent plans to enter the military or work force.

“My challenge to the graduates is to continue to focus on the hard work and dedication that has brought them thus far,” Wolfe said.

Finally, class Vice-President Jacob Smith recalled London telling him and his classmates, as freshmen, that the next four years would fly by.
“I thought he was completely nuts,” Smith said, “but now I feel he was right.”

He cited the class’ successful monetary profit from the Variety Show as a great accomplishment, but added, “That’s not compared to the time we spent together,” closing with some lines from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.”

The PAHS Class of 2012 will hold its commencement exercises Friday, May 25, at Jack LaMarca Memorial Stadium, weather permitting.

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