DALLAS TWP. — Cole Dixon wants to be a forensic accountant and work for the Internal Revenue Service.
Julia Zochowski plans to be a music educator and will start working on that goal at Marywood University.
Alexa Dosiak has her sights on studying at Duquesne University to become a pharmacist.
Uzoije Ukattah, better known as Uzee, plans a career in sports medicine.
These four, and the other more than 200 young men and women of the class of 2016 at Dallas High School are all looking ahead more school or work or military service, whatever tomorrow might bring.
They took their first steps into that future with a walk along the light blue sideline turf in Mountaineer Stadium during Dallas High School’s 55th annual commencement ceremony Friday, June 10.
The seniors processed in with shouts and cheers from the standing-room only crowd of friends and family members who packed the stands.
Student Council President Anna Giacometti used humor to for her “we made it” opener, then thanked everyone who helped her and her classmates get to commencement. Parents topped the list, followed by teachers and friends. Even the baristas at the local Dunkin’ Donuts got credit for providing the extra energy students sometimes needed in their work.
Instead of offering advice or wisdom, Superintendent Thomas Duffy asked the class and their families to take a step back, reflect on the 2340 days of school, beginning with kindergarten to the last day of final exams that brought the class members of 2016 to their caps and gowns.
“Think back to those field trips, the programs, the middle school chorus concerts,” he said. “Think back to the dances and, for you parents, waiting in traffic after those dances on the way to get pizza.”
The days, the struggles, the individual moments might have seemed long at the time, but the 13 years of school passed very quickly, he noted.
Class salutatorian, Alexandra Mae Rome, choked back tears as she thanked her parents for their support in a speech that offered another reality to the night’s importance.
“Beginning today, I will start my goodbyes to family, friends and classmates,” she said.
She reflected on the accomplishments her classmates had made and on awards they won, but she called on everyone to remember “the ordinary,” the kindnesses, the courtesy, smiles and thanks, generosity and help toward others that make life’s moments shine.
And valedictorian, Christopher Allen Biesecker made his speech as formal as his name, using the kind of 50-cent words that proved his grade point average. He used Shakespeare’s Polonius from Act I of Hamlet to urge his classmates to be true to themselves and their true callings.
Dixon, Zochowski, Dosiak and Ukattah all made the same comment before the ceremonies even started. And it echoed through the crowd after the final notes of the recessional.
“I’m looking forward to what’s coming next,” they all said in one form or another. “But I will miss my friends and the time here at Dallas. We were a family here. We will always be Mountaineers.”