SMAHS honors 2012 graduates

Members of the St. Marys Area High School Class of 2012 capped off their high school career on Friday evening during the school's 116th annual commencement program.Following their procession into the Carpin Auditorium, with musical accompaniment provided by the SMAHS Concert Band under the direction of Chris Gankosky, 180 graduates took their place on stage in front of a large audience of family, faculty and friends. The band then performed the national anthem, followed by the SMAHS alma mater sung by the school chorus. Assistant Principal Joe Schlimm announced the class's top 10 seniors: Scott Barber, Emily Dickey, Harley Roth, Erica Bauer, Jacob Burns, Claire Waggoner, Kearsten Trunzo, Michael Fox, Nicholas Rhoades and Samantha Hanes. Schlimm also recognized numerous groups of students, including those who scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA tests; members of the National Honor Society and National Technical Honor Society; and school-to-career students. Class President Nicholas Rhodes acted as the master of ceremonies and introduced the evening's student speakers, Salutatorian Emily Dickey and Valedictorian Scott Barber.Next the choir performed "Whenever You Remember" by Carrie Underwood, accompanied on the piano by choir director Adam Brooks.During his address, Principal Josh Williams said it was an honor to be in attendance at the ceremony with the students, parents, faculty and staff. He added although he has given numerous speeches throughout the years, he remained nervous. As is tradition with Williams, a portion of his speech is directed toward the graduates. "This is truly a happy day for you and your families. I know for a fact that some of your parents believed this day would never, ever come. They have tremendous sense of relief sitting here this evening," Williams said. "As a group, your leadership, talents and your energy has made this one of the most enjoyable school years that I've had in a long time. For that, I'm grateful. You're a remarkable group of young adults."