Resilience is the secret attribute.
That was a key point stressed by guest speaker Dr. Craig J. Krause at Tamaqua Area High School's 121st graduation commencement exercises held last night.
Krause, a 1971 Tamaqua graduate, told the 149 seniors that their futures will lead to struggles or success, stating that "life after your sheltered four years here at the Tamaqua High School is a constant ever-changing challenge, but a wonderful and fulfilling experience, no matter how challenging it becomes."
"Resilience is the secret attribute that your teachers, coaches and parents have tried to instill in you so you can carry on through the worst of times," Krause stated. "The ability to fail but get up and dust yourself off and to try again is a wonderful and invaluable trait."
Krause paraphrased W. Douglas Smith in his speech, stating, "Whatever failures you experience, there is a way over, around and through them. It is not these failures that inhibit your progress, but your resilience that will break the inertia of fear and doubt."
Krause, who has practiced medicine in Tamaqua for over 30 years and serves as the school's physician, is board certified in family practice medicine and still remains in the community.
While in school, he enjoyed a very active high school career. In addition to being a Tamaqua National Honor Society president, Shepp Club chairman, and Senior Class president, Krause, who graduated second in his class, was involved in track, the Glee Club, special chorus, and the Lion's LEO Club. He also received the Fenstermacher Award, the Elks Foundation "Most Valuable Student Award" and was voted as the "hardest working" by fellow seniors.
"My class will have to attempt to fill the shoes of this senior class, and that will be no easy task," said junior class president Kayla Hope said in accepting the senior gavel from 2011 class president Joseph Rudy. "Since we began school, we have had this class to look up to for support, answers and strong friendships."
Rudy stressed the challenges of saying goodbye to so many fellow classmates, also voiced her appreciation for the support from the teachers, parents, and family members he's experienced over the past 18 years.
"Without your help, many of us would not have achieved as much as we have," he said.
"This is at once a great opportunity and an awesome responsibility," school superintendent Carol Makuta told the graduates. "Your thoughts are ultimately chosen by you. Your actions and their results will be determined by the things you think about and the things to which you pay attention."
Principal Stephen P. Toth said that among the graduates, 54 plan to attend a four-year college or university, 87 will pursue associate degrees, business of trade schools, 16 will enter the field of education, six have commitments for employment and 2 plan to enter the military.
"The distinction of being a Tamaqua graduate will not only affect you personally," Toth told the graduating class. "My grandfather was a 1929 graduate and the pride in Tamaqua was ingrained in me at an early age. The foundation of education in Tamaqua is far reaching and wide in its scope and you will pass this on."
Toth introduced the Blew Memorial Awards, presented by Mr. and Mrs., Thomas Blew, Sr. in memory of their sons, Thomas, Jr. (TAHS 1977) and Mark Allen (TAHS 1981). The recipients are the top two students in the graduating class.
Class Valedictorian Kyle Cunningham, the son of Glen and Diane Cunningham, had a cumulative average of 98.34. He plans to attend Penn State University.
Salutatorian, Melody Kelly, the daughter of Frank and Melody Kelly, had an average of 97.94. She plans to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology.
In his valedictory address, Cunningham spoke of the many opportunities and future chapters in their lives, experiences while at Tamaqua, and sacrifices given by parents, relatives, teachers and friends.