Susquehannock graduate Brianna Boyer waves to the crowd as students enter the school gym for commencement Thursday.
Susquehannock graduate Brianna Boyer waves to the crowd as students enter the school gym for commencement Thursday. (Bill Kalina photo)

Severe thunderstorms Thursday night forced Susquehannock High School's graduation into the gym.

That meant some friends and family watched from overflow seating in the auditorium as 240 students walked through the gym in their red robes.

Valedictorian Cayla Stifler spoke of the joy young children have and how that joy tends to diminish in middle school with the forming of cliques.

The joy diminishes even more in high school with the stress of choosing colleges and keeping grades up to get good jobs, she said.

During the graduation, the joy was rekindled, and the future can also be filled with that joy if graduates learn self-acceptance and find enjoyment in others, Stifler said.

Salutatorian Kevin Procopio also addressed the class, noting the students only have one high school graduation. He found inspiration in the rap song "Motto" by Drake, with a chorus of "You only live once."

He used that line to encourage graduates to live in the moment and to not be afraid to fail, because success will follow failure.

Guest speaker: Alumni guest speaker Ron Wolf allowed students to ask him questions about his accomplishments. Wolf was a longtime NFL front-office executive who was best known as the general manager with the Green Bay Packers from 1991-2001. During his time in Green Bay, the Packers reached two Super Bowls and won one.

Wolf graduated from Susquehannock in 1956. He served in the U.S. Army and started his career in the NFL after being introduced to Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders. He also worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets, and he retired in 2001.

Wolf said he was inspired by his football and baseball coach, Bob McCoy. As advice, he quoted Shakespeare, "To thine own self be true." A plaque will be placed in the auditorium lobby in his honor.

Scholarships: Principal Robert Bryson spoke about how the graduates have proven themselves to be responsible by helping those in need and by earning a combined $1.8 million in scholarships.

He then sat in a white rocking chair and read the children's book "I Believe in You" by Marianne Richmond to the audience. The story ended with "I believe in one amazing you with all my love and pride."

He finished his speech by saying, "Make it a great life, or not. The choice is yours."

Susquehannock High School

The Susquehannock High School Class of 2012:

---Number of graduates: 240

---Graduation ceremony held: Thursday, June 7, in the high school gymnasium.

---Valedictorian: Cayla A. Stifler.

---Salutatorian: Kevin T. Procopio.

---Other speakers: Senior class vice president Madison S. Salvitti, Principal Robert J. Bryson, class secretary Chelsey A. Bryant, class treasurer Casey L. Skevington, alumni honor guest speaker Ron Wolf and class president Hannah K. Bentz.