‘Live the life you have imagined’
MUNCY – It was a moment of historical significance with encouraging words for the graduating class of 2015 at Muncy High School on Wednesday night, June 3. The evening was filled with sunlight, a light breeze and colorful flowers as each of the senior class members made a procession on the front lawn to the front center of the high school to receive their diplomas.
Joshua Lloyd sang the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and introduced Maggie Rymsza for an inspirational reading. “Do all you can,” she said. “Our talents make us who we are…we have so many capabilities.”
Reflecting on their class poem, “Chapter One” written by class president, Bridget Murphy, Matthew Diehl explained that “we are authors of our own books. Chapter One was outlined for us. Do what you desire. This is our time to live our lives in a manner that is our own,” he told his classmates.
Salutatorian, Carrine Gadboury commented on the class song, “Time of Your Life” saying how everything happens for a reason. “In the end, everything will turn out right, and I hope you have the time of your life.”
Derek Sellers was introduced as Valedictorian and standing before the crowd he drew his inspiration from Henry David Thoreau’s quote: “Go confidently in your dreams. Life the life you have imagined.”
“We need confidence,” he said stating three reasons why. First, to make the right decisions for the future, to be confident in support systems that have made us who we are, and to be confident in the dreams we have created for ourselves.
After the student speeches, high school principal, Tim Welliver introduced Clyde Peeling who was inducted into Muncy High School’s Academic Hall of Fame. Peeling graduated from Muncy in 1960 before entering the Air Force as a traffic controller. In 1964 he purchased 4 acres on Rt. 15 in Allenwood which became Reptiland. It was a rough start for him, according to Welliver. His zoo was only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day so it was hard to house reptiles over the winter months. So Peeling went on the road during the winter lecturing students while hydrating the animals in bathtubs.
Peeling told his story about his safaris over the years and how he developed his zoo into one of few accredited zoos in the country. “I have become a skeptic over many things,” he said. “The more educated I became, the more I began to realize I didn’t know anything.”
The Clarkstown native also took a look back to the teachers he had while at Muncy High. “Evelyn Yeagle gave me the confidence and made me believe I could do what I wanted with my life,” Peeling explained. “She instilled confidence in me.” He told the graduating seniors that learning is a lifetime experience. Peeling also met his wife, Diane, at Muncy High School. “She was a language arts teacher here in Muncy High School. She was musically talented, well read and we produced 3 wonderful kids,” he said.
He credits his success of 52 years to having a hard working support system that includes many friends and employees.