Identical twins receive top honors at Montgomery
MONTGOMERY – On Friday, June 3rd, Montgomery Area High School celebrated its 112th annual commencement at the Athletic Complex field house. The class of 2016 had sixty-one members who received words of wisdom and well wishes along with their diplomas. Among the graduates were a set of identical twins who earned the two highest averages in the senior class. Gabriella Winder was the Valedictorian, and Amy Winder was Salutatorian.
When Gabriella Winder spoke to the class and the audience, she spoke of the mixed emotions of the senior class, saying some members couldn’t wait to begin the next chapter of their lives, while others would have preferred more time in the life they have now. She encouraged her classmates to allow their fears to make them stronger. Montgomery Area High School is known for its extensive use of technology in education, and she joked, “They may take our iPads, but they will never take away the memories we made here.” When the laughter subsided, she ended her speech with a warm tribute to Dionna Satteson, a member of their class who died tragically in a car accident in March of 2015. She said that Satteson, “did more for this class and school than anyone will ever know.” Members of the senior class have paid tribute to her since her death with memorial bracelets and t-shirts. The love that the seniors and the school have for Satteson was evident as she was remembered by not only Gabby Winder, but by her sister Amy, class president Lexis Forrestal, and Superintendent Daphne Bowers in their speeches, as well.
When Salutatorian Amy Winder stepped to the podium, she joked how she and her sister finally got to be in the front of the line instead of in last place due to the alphabet. She spoke of the memories of the class, and thanked the teachers and school administrators for their years of effort and dedication. She also thanked the family members of the class for helping to shape them into the people they are today. She also encouraged her classmates to say “no” to the good opportunities “so you can say yes to the best ones.”
The keynote speaker was Raymond A. Lynch, who graduated from Montgomery in 1964. Lynch was employed at the former Montgomery Mills before “shipping off” to Vietnam in 1967. He served in the Army and received two purple hearts, two bronze stars, and many other awards for his service. Lynch eventually became a corporate executive. He began his speech by acknowledging the national recognition that the high school has attained, and told the graduates that life will not get easier, it will be more of a challenge, and told them that they have been equipped by the school to meet those challenges. He also advised them to dream big, and that they were the authors of the next chapters in their lives. He added, “Learn to give, learn to love.”