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‘Change is the law of life’

Three hundred fifty-four students became Whitehall High School alumni during the school’s 120th commencement ceremony, held June 3 at PPL Center, Allentown.

Addressing her peers and the families and friends gathered, Class President Alondra Ayala focused on graduation cliches.

“Cliches are cliches because they hold true,” Ayala said. “With simple terms, they illustrate what it means to move forward, to grow and to embrace the future with hope and optimism.”

Ayala congratulated her fellow graduates and told them to embrace these cliches as words of wisdom moving forward.

Olivia Mrazik, class speaker, addressed the audience.

“As a twin, I have learned that sometimes the best choice you can make is one that sets you apart from others and their expectations,” Mrazik said.

Drawing on the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, she told her peers they are not lost if they wander until they find their future careers and hobbies that make them happy - and that it is better if they do.

WHS Principal Dr. Peter Mayes recognized high school staff members Jessie Buchin, Catherine Bachman and Kim Bunce, who are retiring.

Mayes also paid tribute to Class of 2024 member Mia Due, who died in a tragic accident nearly two years ago. Eleven members of the Class of 2024 received a Due It For Mia Memorial Scholarship presented at the senior awards ceremony May 31.

Mayes also acknowledged the many achievements of the Class of 2024, including members of honor societies, district champions, a Freddy Award winner and those dedicated to serving our community.

Salutatorian Priyanshu Purohit took inspiration from his favorite quote by former president John F. Kennedy: “For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life.”

“Change is rarely easy. There is comfort in consistency of course,” Purohit said about the president’s quote.

While the Class of 2024 saw many changes throughout their time in high school, some things stayed the same. Those constants helped keep them grounded, while change and uncertainty lent itself to growth.

Valedictorian Hailey Weston reminded her classmates not to be afraid to ask for help, as everyone can provide a different perspective.

“Don’t let your pride get in the way,” Weston said. “It will only hurt you. You don’t have to do everything alone.”

Class officers included Ayala as president, Michael Wehbey as vice president, Saraiya Zaheer as treasurer and Alyson Younes as secretary. Sarah Shadle and Erin Dolan served as advisers for the Class of 2024.

Edwige Bordes, adviser Mary Scheel and classmate Sophia Yapul show some excitement as they participate in the procession of the Class of 2024 into PPL Center for the WHS graduation ceremony.
PPL Center, Allentown, is filled with excitement as members of the Whitehall High School Class of 2024, surrounded by family and friends, prepare for the start of the June 3 commencement.
PRESS PHOTOS BY DONNA GEWERTZ Bryson Wagner celebrates as he crosses the stage to receive his diploma.
Special guests, the WHS Class of 1974, are in attendance to support the Class of 2024 and to reflect on their graduation 50 years ago.
Members of the WHS band, under the direction of Michael Tanzos, provide musical accompaniment for the commencement ceremony.
Sophia Mrazik receives her diploma and a congratulatory handshake from Whitehall-Coplay School District Board of Education President William P. Fonzone Sr.
The Class of 2024 moves their cap tassels from the right side to the left to signify their achievement during the June 3 commencement.
With many families and friends holding up cardboard cutouts in support of their favorite graduates, the family of Brianna Andino was not to be outdone with an oversized photo.
Simon Younes proudly displays his hard-earned diploma with the support of his family.
PRESS PHOTOS BY DONNA GEWERTZ Dayan Shahoud receives roses from her family.