Amidst a series of unprecedented challenges, the Steel Valley High School Class of 2022 won championships, starred on stage, shined in the classroom and made an impact in the community.
The willingness to succeed in the face of adversity was the recurring theme as multiple speakers celebrated the Class of 2022 during Steel Valley’s commencement ceremony at William V. Campbell Field in Munhall on Wednesday, June 1.
Salutatorian Riley Furrick encouraged her classmates to explore and not worry about having everything figured out right this moment.
“It's okay to mess up. You can change your mind about something, and then change it again,” she said. “We're in charge of our own futures and we can do with them what we please.”
Valedictorian Benjamin Novotny commended the Class of 2022 for maintaining their kindness and camaraderie despite the challenges they faced.
“Through this barricade of worry and fear, it would have been easy to push us apart, to withdraw,” Novotny said. “But you moved forward, and instead of mourning the years lost, this barricade brought us closer together.”
Monah Terry presented the Steel Center CTE Excellence Address and praised multiple teachers and her family for providing guidance and encouragement.
“I will take everything I learned at Steel Valley and Steel Center with me toward my future in graphic design,” she said.
Superintendent Edward Wehrer lauded the achievements of the Class of 2022, including the athletic prowess shown by multi-sport stars Kelsey Salopek and Nijhay Burt, the exemplary community service showcased by Taylor Stump and Lexi Wallace, the standout creativity of artist Chamarra Ford and baker Kaiden Jefferson-Machicote, the breathtaking performances by Sydney McLaughlin, Nyjair Wilkerson and Veronica Brocato over the years, and Novotny’s all-around performance in the classroom, in service to the community, and on stage.
The guest speaker was Benjamin Bobick, a sports anchor and reporter for WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee and a 2012 Steel Valley graduate. Bobick has covered multiple major sporting events, was recognized as the 2019 Tennessee Associated Press TV Sports Anchor of the Year and won the 2019 Tennessee Associated Press TV Sports Feature Story of the Year award. He noted that Steel Valley graduates are uniquely prepared for life after high school, as they’ve already developed the drive to succeed.
“If it wasn't for Steel Valley, I wouldn't be standing here in front of all of you today,” Bobick said. “I wouldn't have gone on to do all these things that I’ve gone on to do the last ten years of my life, because we're built different here at Steel Valley."