MMI Preparatory School in Freeland conducted its 125th Commencement Exercises on Thursday, May 25, as seniors were awarded diplomas by Stanley B. Warner III ’92, chairman of MMI’s Board of Directors.
This year’s graduating class of 42 seniors amassed more than $6.4 million in merit scholarships and awards. The 2017 graduating class also attained an average SAT score of 1733 and 1239 on the Redesigned SAT. The Class of 2017’s average ACT score is 27.
Members of the Class of 2017 were accepted at over 71% of the colleges they applied to and will attend over 27 different colleges and universities this fall.
Retired Major General Peter Bayer ’80, a former United States Army Major General and former Director of Strategy, Plans and Policy on the Army staff at the Pentagon, delivered the commencement address. His message was simple, “Follow your heart, find your purpose and pursue it with passion.”
During commencement exercises, valedictorian Ali Aijaz addressed his classmates about embracing the past and the time spent at MMI because the past shapes the future. “MMI taught us many things and is an integral part of who we are and who we will be,” said Aijaz. He hoped that his classmates would not forget their time at MMI and would use the experience to help build a bright future.
Salutatorian Allison McGeehan spoke to her fellow graduates about remembering the little things, especially when recalling big accomplishments. McGeehan said, “All too often we forget about the little things, the seemingly “insignificant” details that can leave the greatest impact. The big things are truly in the small things.” She went on to mention a number of “little things” that impacted life at MMI, from things teachers did to the dedication of parents, which may have seemed small at first but led to a big reward.
Class President Dana Carrato told the class “Do what your heart loves and don’t forget to have fun!” in her parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s Twas the Night before Christmas. She also spoke to the class about their ability to face any challenge that comes their way.
Members of MMI’s Class of 2017, their parents and their hometowns are as follows: Ali Aijaz, the son of Fakhruddin and Dr. Naghma Aijaz, Mountaintop; Niklas Byriel, the son of Julia Byriel, Drums, and the late Kim Byriel; Dana Carrato, the daughter of Dr. Anthony and Carmine Carrato, Hazleton; Anirban Chowdhury, the son of Bhaskar and Saumitri Chowdhury, Hazle Township; Kevin Cibak, the son of James and Deirdre Cibak, Sugarloaf; Eric Degenhart, the son of Dr. John and Janet Degenhart, Hazleton; Gabriella DeMelfi, the daughter of Daniel and Esme DeMelfi, Hazleton; Evan Dryfoos, the son of Llewellyn and Maura Dryfoos, Sugarloaf; Katherine Eschenbach, the daughter of David and Maureen Eschenbach, Drums; Ryan Eschenbach, the son of David and Maureen Eschenbach, Drums; Douglas Genetti, the son of Timothy and Michelle Genetti, Sugarloaf; Lacee Gera, the daughter of Marianne Gera and Joseph Pavlick, Drifton; Jai-Jacob Hoover, the son of Jai and Ninotchka Hoover, Mountaintop; Garrett Kost, the son of Joseph and Natalie Kost, Freeland; Joey Kress, the daughter of Jessica Holliday, Drums, and Joseph and Tracy Kress, Sugarloaf; Kayla Leonard, the daughter of Gregory and Karen Leonard, Hazle Township; Megan Marchetti, the daughter of David and Andrea Marchetti, Freeland; Catherine Matyas, the daughter of Michael and Wendisue Matyas, Sugarloaf; Allison McGeehan, the daughter of Thomas and Sandra McGeehan, Drums; Kyle McGuire, the son of Joseph and Janet McGuire, West Nanticoke; Dillon Merenich, the son of Michael and Cindy Merenich, Freeland; Olivia Minzola, the daughter of Joseph and Debra Minzola, Drums; Joshua Narrow, the son of Howard and Marie Narrow, Hazleton; Athena Nicholas, the daughter of Anna Jean Muckler and Richard Malavenda, Hazleton; Anna Olivieri, the daughter of Jack and Mariah Olivieri, Sugarloaf; Keenan Overa, the son of Timothy and Lori Overa, Drums; Kisan Patel, the son of Dr. Dilipkumar and Dr. Minaben Patel, Mountaintop; Danielle Pileggi, the daughter of Daniel and Sandra Pileggi, Albrightsville; Elizabeth Pinto, the daughter of Karen Pinto, Mountaintop, and John Pinto, Maplewood, NJ; Lois Ann Polashenski, the daughter of Robert and Kathleen Polashenski, Freeland; Kryslyn Postupack, the daughter of granddaughter of Andrew and Mary Postupack, Hazleton; Erin Sari, the daughter of Izzet and Mumine Sari, Sugarloaf; Samuel Sessock, the son of Jennifer and James Denion, Freeland, and the late John Sessock; Dylan Slusser, the son of Amy St. Pierre, Drums, and Atty. Christopher Slusser, Sugarloaf; Jessica Smith, the daughter of Jonathan Smith and Beatrice Russo-Smith, White Haven; Jonathan Smith, the son of Jonathan Smith and Beatrice Russo-Smith, White Haven; Lucas Smith, the son of Robynn Smith, Drums; Evan Spear, the son of William and Marylynne Spear, Hazleton; Daniel Tron, the son of Dr. Eduardo Tron and Dr. Graciela Bianco, Mountaintop; Jacob Weiksner, the son of Mary Ann and William Flyzik, Freeland, and Daniel Weiksner, Coaldale; Kyle Williams, the son of Robert and Stephanie Williams, White Haven; and Nicholas Young, the son of Christian and Nicole Young, Freeland.