Class of 2018 Ravens poised to leave comfort of high school nest

GEORGETOWN – Sussex Technical High School’s Class of 2018 has officially left the Ravens’ nest.

Three hundred and 50 seniors crossed the stage – and the unofficial bridge into post-high school adulthood – Thursday night as graduates during commencement ceremonies at Raven Stadium.

A huge crowd of family and friends was on hand for graduation, which featured State Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf as guest speaker.

The audience also heard from Class of 2018 President Hannah O’Hara, Valedictorian Clarice Pamplona and Salutatorian Kira Short.

“Even though we think we have our futures figured we face many more decisions that alter our paths and change our destinations,” said Kira. “We are going to mess up and make mistakes but in the midst of it all we are also going to make some of the greatest decisions of our lives. We must remember to be brave enough to make our decisions and to go with them, no matter the outcome that follows.”

“Today is all about you and the way you have grown through 12 years,” said Hannah. “Today we dress up in these funny looking gowns and square hats, to receive black books as teachers and parents watch with teary eyes. They nurtured us to grow and with a few upsets, they led us in the right direction, whether we have given them the credit or not.”

“I believe that this class, the Class of 2018, is by far the most resilient, the most decorated and the most inspiring,” said Clarice. “We have proved that we are more than just students, or daughters, or sons or friends. We are empowering young adults who do not fit the mold, who break barriers.”

On stage with speakers, administration and school board members was Stephen H. Guthrie, who officially assumes the reins as Sussex Tech superintendent July 1.

Rep. Schwartzkopf, who served 25 years with Delaware State Police prior to 16 years in the General Assembly where he currently serves as Speaker of the House, shared the dark side of his life, as a troubled young boy and teen.

“It hasn’t been a straight path for me, from high school for what I do now,” said Rep. Schwartzkopf. “There were detours along the way, a few do-overs, great opportunities and some surprises. Looking back, I very easily could have given up, being a wreck of a kid with lots of emotional issues, growing up poor, dealing with family suicide and physical abuse. Throw in an alcoholic stepfather and most kids would probably fold.”

“I am living proof that you can rise above anything you’ve had to endure to date. Don’t let past behavior or people define you. And don’t ever, ever give up on yourself,” said Rep. Schwartzkopf. “There will always be someone along your path with a hand out to help you. You just have to slow down long enough to find them, allow them to help guide you and then pay them back by doing your best.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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