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Tamaqua grads look to make a difference, take charge

There was a common theme at the Tamaqua Area High School graduation on Wednesday night.

Be the best that you can be. Every day.

On the 129th annual commencement ceremony, 129 Tamaqua seniors earned high school diplomas and were honored in front of a packed auditorium. A gigantic chapter was finished in their lives, but a new beginning is waiting to be written.

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“Wherever you find yourself, be the best,” said guest speaker and 1997 TAHS graduate Commander Chad J. Trubilla in his speech. “You only get one life to define your life and who you will be.”

Commander Trubilla shared many experiences and lessons that he learned with the graduates. He encouraged the class of 2019 to not sit on the bench, and get in the game.

“You possess the grit to succeed,” he said. “If you want to succeed, don’t forget where you came from and use your grit to your advantage.”

Emily Amershek, class valedictorian, delivered the farewell address before the presentation of awards. She said the college selection process was a challenge for her, but she turned to one of her strengths to help figure it out.

“I got busy, did the research, and put the work in,” Amershek said, who will be dual-majoring at the University of Scranton. “In life everyone is going to ask more of you and you have to get the job done. Whatever the challenge is, you can get it done. You’re capable of doing so much more than you think. Wherever you go, be proud of what you accomplished … Spend tomorrow being whoever you want to be.”

Other student speakers included Luke Mateyak, 2019 class president, and Lottie Mateyak, 2020 class president.

“I wish you all the best of luck in the future,” said Luke Mateyak. “We will always be Raiders for life and friends forever.”

The 2019 graduating class earned over $133,000 in scholarship money, which was distributed to 42 well-deserving seniors during a separate ceremony last month.

The commencement closed out with an excited class of 2019 on stage, and their proud family members and friends in the audience. The seniors tossed their hats in the air, and eloquently sang “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, as the crowd smiled and cheered.

“Tamaqua is a piece of us that will never leave,” Amershek said. “In a way, we’ll never leave Tamaqua.”

Members of the Tamaqua Class of 2019 celebrate moments after officially being named high school graduates. JUSTIN CARLUCCI/TIMES NEWS