Bruton Class of 2018 told to believe in themselves and each other

On Friday morning hundreds of faculty, family and friends flooded into the north wing of Kaplan Arena to watch nearly 200 graduating seniors finish their last few minutes of high school.

Bruton High School’s Class of 2018 graduated to the sound of cowbells, air horns and cheers from the crowd watching from the stands above.

Dr. Victor D. Shandor, superintendent of the York County School Division, opened the ceremony with a joke.

“Every year, preparing for commencement reminds me of how much older I’m getting,” he said. “I graduated high school in 1988, and it’s been 30 years.”

Graduating from high school, Shandor said he expected a long career as a professional athlete and ESPN reporter. Now, as school superintendent, he told students not to doubt themselves. The future might not be what they expect, but they are surrounded by people who believe in them.

Shandor, quoting from Duke men’s basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski, said the four words, “I believe in you,” are not said enough.

After his speech, the school chorus sang “This is Me” and “A Million Dreams,” composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for the film “The Greatest Showman.”

“I’m not scared to be seen. I make no apologies, this is me,” went the chorus to the first song.

Class Salutatorian Shannon Cadwell, who will attend James Madison University in the fall, spoke on the value of kindness.

“Spend that extra second to smile. Hold the door for someone. Be generous with your time and talents and open with your heart. Your kindness is never wasted,” Cadwell said.

Valedictorian Alyssa Arbelli-Smith, who will attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in the fall, told her classmates not to take the time after graduation for granted.

She ended with a quote from Alexander Graham Bell: “When one door closes, another door opens.”

“Look forward to the future with hope, and to the past with acceptance. But do not become so focused on what lies on the other side of either of those doors that you forget to appreciate what lies between them,” Arbelli-Smith said.

The Bruton High Medallion, one of the highest honors the school presents, went to graduates Rand Perry and Clara Wincheski.

Principle Arletha Dockery delivered the final remarks.

She said that if their past predicts the future, then the students have bright days ahead — they are a small school, but they believe big.

As she ended her speech, the school’s faculty rose, looked to the students and repeated a chant together.

“We believe, we believe in you.”

Bruton High School

Enrollment: 559 Graduating Class: 174 Total amount of scholarship money: $4,221,026 Salutatorian: Shannon Cadwell Valedictorian: Alyssa Arbelli-Smith

Petersen can be reached by phone at 757-345-8812 or by email at

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