The sun came out Friday giving the 2016 graduates of Valley Forge Military College a perfect spring day for graduation.
As family and friends filled the aisles of the college’s Memorial Chapel, students lined up outside on the Wayne, Pennsylvania campus anticipating their entrance. Professors handed out tassels to each of the cadets, and the college orchestra quietly rehearsed in the east wing.
The ceremony began with a prayer and the national anthem and after the academic awards had been given out and school honors were bestowed upon different graduates, valedictorian Cynthia Flipo Diaz gave an inspirational speech to her peers.
It is the first time in the college’s history, which was established in the 1930’s, that the valedictorian and the salutatorian were women. Diaz talked about how the tough love and nurturing love given by the teachers helped shape not only her time at the school, but her as a person.
Pennsylvania State Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack then gave the commencement address. He shared his respect for the mixed class of cadets and traditional non-military student graduates, who break the common boundary found between the military and civilian communities within our society.
Stack talked about his own call to serve later in life in the United States National Guard, where he discovered a renewed energy and focus that he sees now within the graduating class. He concluded his speech while imparting some wisdom to the graduates.
“What you give will come back to you in many more ways than you could ever imagine,” Stack said, and wished them luck as they enter into the next chapter of their lives.