A death can have the power to bring people together and unite them as one. Conestoga Valley students learned this the hard way.
The theme of Conestoga Valley Class of 2016’s graduation was “CV Strong,” a phrase that found resonance among the school community after Assistant Principal Perry Pritchard died suddenly from a heart attack in August 2015.
“The beauty of Mr. Pritchard’s life, which we celebrated and for which we mourned, was the verse he contributed, the legacy he spent his life building,” said Tiffany Dimm, salutatorian and commencement speaker.
The 308 graduates adorned in red and navy blue gowns listened intently as they sat under the bright lights of Calvary Church on Thursday night.
Senior Ben Cutler continued the theme of “CV Strong” as he spoke of his battles with a “monster” called anxiety.
“CV Strong is simply a new maxim for something our school has always stood for,” Cutler said in his speech. “Even in his leaving, Mr. Pritchard was able to leave us with something powerful … (how to) unearth our own strength.”
The class president, Alana Dickson, honored the students and commended those who were going on to higher education and the military.
She then announced that the Class of 2016 legacy gift will be a podium for the cafeteria, given in memory of Pritchard.
In addition, the CV Technology Education Department designed a plaque engraved with the quote that hung on Pritchard’s classroom door.
It reads, “Work for a cause, not for applause. Live to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.” The plaque was presented to Pritchard’s family.