EL grads overcome adversity

Elk Lake graduate Erin Walker receives a rose after leaving the graduation stage Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI


The year 2012 had some ominous overtones for the graduating class of Elk Lake High School, with the class song, “Live Like You Were Dyin’” by Tim McGraw, and its motto is, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending,” attributed to Maria Robinson.

At the commencement Saturday, there were frequent speech references to several tragedies close to home that had colored the students’ high school experience.

In ninth grade, classmate Miranda Larnerd’s life was tragically cut short. In the past year, the McClain family lost a father and had a very serious car accident injuring several family members.


Just weeks ago, senior Will Bennett had a great fall while removing decorations from the gymnasium rafters after the prom, and his multiple injuries cut short his senior track season.

Salutatorian Ryan Wilson was also sidelined from his final season on the basketball team after injuries from a soccer game.

High school principal Dr. Kenneth Cuomo addressed Bennett personally in his speech, saying, “Will, the class is blessed by your being on stage today. All I can say is that God spared you for a reason.”

Ultimately, the doomsayers did not stop the class from culminating

RYAN WILSON Salutatorian

the year with a successful commencement, and 74 graduates aimed toward a bright future.

Class president and track and cross country star Maria Trowbridge said, “Each one of us has dreams that we are chasing. And now it’s time to chase them. It’s time to live that crazy thing they call life.”

Valedictorian Cathlene Farnelli said, “There may be some things we would like to forget about our time here….but we have always tried to come together and help with each other’s problems.”

Wilson said that “the most important thing to do is to say thank you to all that have made an impact on our lives.” He remarked, “…..my parents taught me at a young age that no matter what, I could always do better.”

Cuomo noted that this commencement marked a lifestyle change for him: for the past 20 years, he has been driving to work as an administrator with at least one child of his own riding to school with him. Now that his youngest son Matt is graduating, he will be facing his commute next year alone in the car.

He acknowledged  achievements of senior class members: Ricky Guiton, who came in fourth in the nation at a national forensics tournament; Frederick Hemann, who built furniture for families who lost their homes in Meshoppen during the flood; Brittany DeLancey, who has won national cheerleading titles despite Type 1 diabetes; Jesse Borosh, who has attained the rank of Eagle Scout; and Cathlene Farnelli, Elk Lake’s first National Merit Scholarship finalist.

Graduating seniors fromElkLakeHigh School: Daniel Addice. Pia Barrett, Morgan Bender, William Bennett, Melissa Bird, Parker Birtch, Jesse Borosh, Douglas Brooks, Zackary Canfield, Ayla Capwell, Amanda Carney, Melissa Copes, Paul Cron, Matthew Cuomo, Jared Curry, Daniel Daly, Brittany DeLancey, Cathlene Farnelli, Samantha Ferguson, Dakota Green, Richard Guiton, Frederick Hemann, Carly Herman, Katie Herring, Dylan Hitchcock, Desiree Hospodor, Cassandra Hunter, Ryan Jenks, Tracey Johnson, Nikki Kamarauskas, Jared Kirchner, Tabitha Kittle, Johnathan Krieg, Allison Krishak, Dustin Linaberry, Lacy Marbaker, Marshall McCarty, Meggan McClain, Cody Mowry, Shante Mowry, Katie Nye, Monica Oakes, Nicole O’Dell, Megan Oliver, Vanessa Otis, Zackery Patton, Adam Phillips, Rachel Pompey, Jessica Prevost, Cody Quick, Joshua Reed, Diana Root, Melvin Route Jr., Allexa Schneider, Jeremy Schwarztrauber, Amanda Silfee, Dylan Simmons, Kyleen Sisson, Alicia Smith, Abigail Spear, Aaron Stang, Danielle Sterner, Shae-Lynd Swingle, Taylor Traver, Maria Trowbridge, Ford VanWert, Erin Walker, Tevin Wallikas, Tiffany Walter, Lydia Watkins, Harold Wehler, Curtis Whitney, Ryan Wilson, and Abigail Zdancewicz.