HHS says goodbye to class of 2021

By LYLE T. GALLOWAY
Posted 6/23/21

HONESDALE, PA — On June 19, those at Honesdale High School said goodbye and good luck to the class of 2021. 

One hundred and eighty-eight seniors gathered on the football field as their …

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HHS says goodbye to class of 2021

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We all know that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve this goal without perseverance, dedication, focus, balance and the ability to adapt. Whether you realize it or not, all of you have these traits.
– Gavin Kopseky

HONESDALE, PA — On June 19, those at Honesdale High School said goodbye and good luck to the class of 2021. 

One hundred and eighty-eight seniors gathered on the football field as their parents and peers watched them from the bleachers. The excitement was palpable on their faces as they got to watch the ceremony in person rather than from their vehicles as had been the case at last year’s ceremony. 

It was a hard-won victory for all of those present, who worked diligently to learn, grow and educate on the heels of a global pandemic. 

“Students, parents, teachers and administrators found within themselves a lot of hidden talents that emerged and helped them get through this year, and I know they will benefit them as they move on in their lives,” said Honesdale High School Principal Christopher Pietraszewski. 

The student faculty and administrators gave rousing speeches at the podium. Many of their speeches echoed unifying themes of change, hope for the future and the overcoming of challenges. 

The president of the class of 2021, Geoffrey Johnson, was the first to speak. He gave a speech highlighting the changes he and his fellow classmates experienced from their first day of kindergarten to where they are now. 

Next to speak was Gavin Kopesky, the valedictorian. In his speech, titled “Traits of the present,” he talked about the challenges that his fellow students faced with the pandemic and online learning. He mentioned that despite these obstacles, all the students present overcame them. 

“We all know that you wouldn’t have been able to achieve this goal without perseverance, dedication, focus, balance and the ability to adapt,” he said. “Whether you realize it or not, all of you have these traits.” 

Brodi Cole, left Andrew Ihlefeldt, middle Calvin Feustel, right.
Brodi Cole, left Andrew Ihlefeldt, middle Calvin Feustel, right.
Principal Christopher Pietraszewski presents the class of 2021.
Principal Christopher Pietraszewski presents the class of 2021.
Bryce Klinger on the drums for the Honesdale High School band.
Bryce Klinger on the drums for the Honesdale High School band.
Valedictorian Gavin Kopesky reads his speech entitled "Traits of the Present."
Valedictorian Gavin Kopesky reads his speech entitled "Traits of the Present."
Superintendent Gregory Frigoletto gives his remarks about the class of 2021 and all the challenges they faced up to this point.
Superintendent Gregory Frigoletto gives his remarks about the class of 2021 and all the challenges they faced up to this point.
Salutatorian Jakob Burlein remarks about the vast oppurtunities in front of his fellow students.
Salutatorian Jakob Burlein remarks about the vast oppurtunities in front of his fellow students.

Jakob Burlein, the class of 2021’s salutatorian, shared some wise words about the different paths that students would take after they’ve crossed the stage. He brought up the subject of vocational education. 

“These are the students that make up the true backbone of America’s future; these are the men and women that will keep the world from falling apart and build the world of tomorrow. I can tell you that 15 years from now, when I need the frame of my truck welded, I would much rather count on Mr. Xander Davis to do it than Mr. Gavin Kopesky,” joked Burien. 

He then brought up the need for those to attend colleges and universities in their paths to helping people. 

“Again, I would like to say that 15 years from now, when I need a root canal, I would much rather have Mr. Gavin Kopesky perform it than Mr. Xander Davis,” Burlein said. 

No matter if they chose to embark towards a four-year degree—the trades, the workforce, or the armed forces—Burlein acknowledged that there was space for everyone to succeed.

Many of the students in attendance are heading into their first year of higher education with scholarships and awards. The institutional awards that the class of 2021 received totaled nearly $2.7 million. Local and regional awards totaled close to $120,000. 

The ceremony concluded at around 12:30 p.m. The graduates ceremoniously switched their tassels from the right side of their caps to the left and assembled at the front of the school for photos with their friends and families. 

School administrators had this advice to give to the students they were seeing out: “Aim high, dream big,” said assistant superintendent Timothy Morgan. 

“No matter what you do, do it well. Don’t quit, finish it. Also, be kind, always remember that there are other people that you can count on to help you,” said Pietraszewski.

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