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‘We now enter the future’

Family, friends and former teachers gathered June 1 in the Catasauqua High School gymnasium to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2024. This marked the 156th commencement for CHS.

One hundred fifteen students paraded into the gym, anxious and eager to close this chapter of their lives and begin the next.

“We are gathered to celebrate the peak of our high school journey,” student-selected speaker Delaine Popa Nina said in the invocation.

Faculty-selected speaker Logan Younes said it is “essential to take a moment to reflect on the past” before stepping into the future. He remembered back to many of the events and activities they took part in during their time in Catasauqua Area School District, such as book fairs and field days.

“Though we’ve gotten older, the things we do don’t change that much, but we do. And we did it together,” Younes said, adding they are all forever part of each others’ stories.

Sophia Becker, class president and valedictorian, said it is important to be mindful of the present and “relish these final moments as CHS students.” She also told her class to appreciate those who helped them get to where they are now, such as their parents. She asked her classmates to enjoy the moments happening now and the friendships they formed.

“The present is when we have the opportunity to live life to the fullest,” Becker said.

In keeping with tradition, the class celebrating its 50th anniversary was invited to share in the celebration and was introduced by Delaney Troxell, class historian. Susan Hawkey Stahler served as the representative of the Class of 1974. She reminisced back to her high school graduation, held outside at the current Catasauqua Middle School. She noted their graduation ceremony was interrupted by a thunderstorm, adding the Class of 2024 should feel lucky to have a nice, big gym for the ceremony.

CHS Principal David Todd shared some words for the Class of 2024. He thanked them for making his first year at CHS such a memorable one. He told them to dream big, dream often and dream alive. He also told them to honor the gift that is each day and to end each day on a high note.

The Class of 2024 was told to pursue peace in life, in direction and in others. Todd urged them to know their purpose and do the right thing. He also encouraged the students to take risks and trust in themselves.

“To get to share a day like this with you is extremely special,” Todd said.

Aiden Gannon, class treasurer, said the Class of 2024 is donating its remaining class funds to the music and arts department. Todd thanked them for the donation, saying it will help future students and the legacy of CHS.

“We now enter the future,” Augustus Serrano, student-selected speaker, said to his classmates. “This is where life truly begins.”

He urged his peers not to let the past stop them from reaching their goals and true potential. He said worry, doubt and fear are the only things standing in the way of a bright future. Serrano noted moving forward into the future will result in a few falls, but it is important to get back up and keep going.

“No amount of regret will change the past, and no amount of anxiety will stop the future,” Serrano said.

He emphasized his classmates should not miss out on opportunities because of fear or doubt.

“We fall, we break, we fail. We rise, we heal, we overcome,” Serrano said.

Alivia Bear, class vice president and salutatorian, shared a final farewell with her peers, noting their strength is in their individuality. She noted they helped usher in a new era at the school and have grown through societal shifts and personal challenges.

“Every one of you deserves to face the uncertainty of the future with confidence,” Bear said.

She read a poem by Kahlil Gibran about the fear of moving forward but being unable to go back. She urged her classmates to continue moving forward in life through the fear.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christina Lutz-Doemling said it was a privilege and honor to be a part of this special day.

“As thinkers and learners, you have grown tremendously,” Lutz-Doemling said, adding the Class of 2024 is well prepared for the future.

She noted they have made their families and the school community very proud and will make the world a better place.

Kelsea Warren, class secretary, read the names of her classmates as they crossed the stage to accept their diplomas. Becker then led the moving of their cap tassels from one side to the other as a symbolic moving from a student to a graduate. This action was met with a stampede of foot stomps and applause from the audience.

Student-selected speaker William Aguirre mentioned their “overwhelming sense of joy” during the final benediction. He asked them to reflect on the end of their journey and told his classmates about his pride and hope for each of them.

“May our future student debt be forgiven,” Aguirre added.

Following the recessional, the Class of 2024 took part in the time-honored tradition of the Grand Catty Line. The graduates lined up along the edges of the gymnasium floor and, in the last act together as the Class of 2024, tossed their caps into the air.

Joy and conviviality emanated from the CHS gym as all present honored and celebrated the Class of 2024.

PRESS PHOTOS BY DONNA GEWERTZ Smiles fill the stage for this group of CHS graduates following commencement exercises, held in the school gymnasium at 2500 W. Bullshead Road, Northampton.
Catasauqua High School Class of 2024 members form the Grand Catty Line around the gymnasium floor and toss their caps during the June 1 graduation ceremony.
PRESS PHOTOS BY DONNA GEWERTZ CHS Principal David Todd serves as master of ceremonies for this 156th commencement celebration.
Student-selected speaker Augustus Serrano shares his thoughts on the future with his fellow classmates and the audience.
The Catasauqua High School band, under the direction of Robert Arnold, is ready to perform during the June 1 commencement exercises.
Class of 2024 member Jane Armbruster receives assistance with her corsage from CHS educational aide Christopher Casciotti.
The Class of 2024 performs the time-honored tradition of moving their cap tassels from the right to left side during the ceremony, held in the school gymnasium at 2500 W. Bullshead Road, Northampton.
Reece Johnson celebrates her graduation with proud family members - mother Michele Johnson and grandparents Tom and Carol Ricks.