“Be strong enough to be sensitive and brave enough to be enthusiastic,” wrote Kathleen Rosso-Gana in her farewell message to New Hope Academy’s graduating class of 2017. June 2 was a day that certainly changed the worlds of many, for that was the day NHA held its 16th commencement ceremony at the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel. The enthusiastic graduates smiled in anticipation as they sat among their school administrators. Family, friends, undergraduate students, and teachers proudly watched from the audience.
Songs performed by the NHA music department helped to make the ceremony a memorable one. Presentations included “God Bless America” and “Amazing Grace,” performed on the bagpipes by music teacher Cameron Stahl; “Father and Son,” performed by music department chair Chris Cinalli; and “For Good,” performed by theater department chair Jenna Parrilla and music teacher Lindsay Groft. Adding to the significance of the day was the artwork produced by the graduating seniors, which was displayed in the hotel lobby. Guests could admire the creativity of the class and the amazing demonstrations of self-expression.
NHA’s graduation ceremonies are distinguished by the amount of graduates invited to speak. This ceremony featured three Valedictorians, one from the Yardley campus and two from the Doylestown campus, as well as two Salutatorians and two Commencement Closers. Additionally, the ceremony featured three Honored Graduates, who are students who have the distinction of attending NHA for at least four years. All of the speakers spoke about the struggles and experiences that brought them to NHA, the successes that led them to this very memorable moment, and the hope they have for the future. This year’s keynote speaker was former NHA Assistant Director and teacher Gary Harris, who spoke of how to achieve success while maintaining one’s happiness. President Kathleen Rosso Gana warmly addressed the graduates before the big moment – the presentation of the diplomas. Finally, the class of 2017 marched offstage to “Gonna Fly Now” (Theme from Rocky), inspired, excited, and ready to change the world.