by justin strawser

COAL TOWNSHIP - Don't forget where you came from.

Those were are words spoken by Principal Chris Venna to the Shamokin Area Middle/High School graduating class of 2010 Friday night at the school auditorium.

"Your memories, your experiences and the connections you have made here at Shamokin Area will follow you for the rest of your lives. Be proud of that," said Venna.

Venna, who started his job in the school the same day the 2010 class entered the building in seventh grade, said many things - both unimportant and important - have happened during that period of time.

Mentioning the allowance of backless shoes being permitted and senior lunches held outside, he moved on to the important accomplishments, saying, "Your class has

experienced more changes to the curriculum than any other class before you. It has become more rigorous and challenging."

With the addition of several AP classes and other academic accomplishments, the class of 2010's high school PSSA scores were "by far the best our school has ever seen," said Venna.

The class seen individuals excel outside of the classroom, including students earning the 700 club status in the SATs, qualifying for regional and state music festivals, becoming the all-time leader in career wrestling wins and scoring 1,000 points in basketball and 1,000 yards in football.

"These are things that set you apart as a class - everything you have learned here and achieved here has prepared you for this day," said Venna. "The day when you are about to embark on a new journey. A journey into a very daunting and complex world."

The valedictorian offered similar words of being set apart as a class and individuals.

"Looking back at the valedictions of previous classes made me realize that each of you seated before me has a unique high school experience," said Mark Shultz.

Half of the class, he went on, "Fought back tears as you received your diploma, but the other half can't wait for me to get this speech over with so you can get to Ocean City for Senior Week already."

However, no matter what the journey was, the choices that were made on the single criterion of "what made you happy," he said.

"The best advice I can give you as valedictorian is to learn to look past the constant panic the media sets in front of you, seek out the good in the world and find enjoyment in the little things in life," he said. "Most importantly, do what makes you happy."

Shultz explained that his fellow classmates will be tempted to take jobs they are not passionate about for a higher salary or be told what to do with their lives, but he is confident that Shamokin Area has given them the necessary tools to combat these obstacles.

Although the class may not remember certain aspects of high school, he said, "I sincerely hope that you will never forget your roots in the Shamokin Area, and the lessons you learned here, both in and out of the classroom."

Jordan Papp, class secretary, Joseph Cancellier, class vice president, Shaina Catizone, class president, and Joshua Bryan Druckenmiller, class salutatorian, also gave commencement addresses.

Students graduating from Shamokin Area High School on Friday were:

Nicole Lynn Aikey, Brandi Lynn Alvord, Stephen Richard Angelo, Nicholas William Asimbaya, Kayla Ann Barkow, Matthew Allen Bendas, Angela Lynn Bills, Stormie Lynn Birster, Timothy Isiah Bousson, John Anthony Brida, Charles Robert Britton, Kelsey Anne Burt, Luis Jose Campins-Ramirez, Joseph Robert Cancellier, Christopher David Carpenter, Carissa Ann Carsto, Jarred Damien Castetter, Shaina Catherine Catizone, Nicole Patrice Cervellero, Brandon Keith Clayton, Amanda Marlene Cole, Courtney Paige Cooper, Jeramy Paul Cox, Carley Frances Dabulis, Skyler Quinn Deitrick, Brooke Ashley Derr, Hevyn Nicole Dimm, Tyler Joseph DiRienzo, Jared Thomas Donahue, Joshua Bryan Druckenmiller, Amanda Claire Dye, Danielle Renee Egick, Reese Richard Elliott Jr., Faith Joy Emrich, Ethan Edward Farrow, Blake Anthony Forbes, Brent Michael Forbes, Robert Eugene Forry Jr., Chase Alexander Gallie, Renee Elizabeth Garrity, Mariah Lyn Glosek, Tanika Sharis Gonzalez, Sabrina Francis Greager, Michael Carter Greenwalt, Cassandra Lee Grow, Robert Joseph Gusick, Rebecca Ann Hancock, Karissa Alex Hartenstine, Megan Elizabeth Hasuga, Megan Elizabeth Haverty, Ashley Lynne Heim, Jodi Lyn Herb, Kayla Doreen Holman, Anthony Connor Holobovich, Pamela Anne Jaeger, Abigail Leigh James, Christopher Lee James, Samuel John Jeremiah, Taylor Lynn Jeremiah, Alexandria Noelle Jones, Jacob Francis Jurewicz, Kaylee Rose Kerstetter, Taylor Lynn Kiefaber, Kaitlyn Marie Klemick, Keesha Maree Kline, Mark Anthony Knapick, Abby Elizabeth Kulenguskey, Daniel David Lahr Jr., Justin Allen Lebo, Tabitha Jane Leiby, Michael Ian Lindermuth, Emily Ann Linkoski, Anthony Michael Long, Megan Lynette Long, Ryan Jeffrey Long, Brandon Ray Lopez, Kiley Ann McCormick, Hayley Marie McGuinn, Karissa Mae McGuinn, Marissa Arlene McGuinn,

Amanda Merena, Brandon Michael Molnar, Nicole Marie Mostik, Stephanie Marie Nahodil, James Lawrence Neidlinger, Jeffrey Michael Nolter, Joseph Raymond Oquendo, Cera Lee-Anne Orner, Jordan Rachael Papp, Braxton Matthew Pappas, Felicia Ann Pastuszek, Terry Zachariah Pheasant, Kegan Daniel Polastre, Katrina Lynn Poplaski, Shelbi Eileen Probst, Chelsea Lynn Purcell, Samantha Corrine Ramp, Kersten Marie Reichenbach, Brandon Edward Reigle, Derek Anthony Rompolski, Zachary James Rothermel, Kimber Lee Runkle, Alisha Carol Rupp, Jennifer Nicole Sassani, Brittany Lynn Schoch, Cody Allen Shadle, Joseph Lamar Shaffer, Samantha Mae Shevitski, Derek Frederick Shingara, Timothy Charles Shuey, Mark James Shultz, Leroy Roland Shurock, Merissa Lynn Shurock, James Luke Sienkiewicz III, April Celeste Slavinsky, Cameron Nicholas Snyder, Nicholas Gene Sobotor, Stevie Reigh Spishock, Brooke Alyssa Stankiewicz, Michael Bruce Stepp, Brittany Anastasia Stine, Justin Michael Suerken, Thomas Joseph Templar, Joan Ann Thompson, Grace Alberta Tinley, Jared Francis Trelinski, Michael Aaron Troutman, Gregory Tyler Valania, Jacqueline Rose Valania, Jessica Ann Vezo, Chelsea Lee Wagner, Jenelle Ashley Wagner, Christopher Robert Waters, Joshua John Weikel, Joseph Parker Wightman, Brian Paul Williams Jr., John Michael Williams, Jonathan David Williams, Kasey Elyse Williams, Olivia Jane Wilson, Kori Michelle Wintersteen, Emily Elizabeth Witt, Colette Nicole Wolfe, Sarah Kendra-Louise Yeager, Cassy Ann Yost, Zachariah Yost, Maggie Paige Young, Brandon Joseph Zalar and Michael David Zielinskie.