“Go tell your story. Tell it honestly. Find your happy, share it with friends and become a family,” was the sage advice given to the class of 2013 at Sussex Technical High School by commencement speaker Virginia "Jinni" Forcucci.
As a cool breeze on a warm May 30 evening swept over approximately 3,000 friends and family of the 295 graduates, popular English teacher Forcucci demonstrated the creative writing skills she strived to teach her students.
Amid periods of laughter, and occasional tears, from both graduates and speaker, Forcucci reminisced about the beginning days of her teaching at Sussex Tech. It was 18 years ago - the same as the age of most of the graduates. As she told the story of how she had to earn the trust and respect of her students, Forcucci said she learned that family doesn’t include just those at the dinner table. “We are family,” she proclaimed with a cracking in her voice.
The theme of family echoed in the words of the evening’s other speakers. Senior class Co-President Joseph Yawn of Laurel remembered that he barely said a word during his freshman year at Sussex Tech, and he thought the “seniors were at least 28 years old.” His fellow Co-President Victoria Hearn of Seaford spoke of how freshman year was a year of firsts, and their senior year was a year of lasts. “But today is the first day of the rest of our lives,” she summarized.
Class salutatorian Dylan Varrato of Georgetown thanked the members of his school family who helped to strengthen him. “All of us have someone who brought us to this point,” said Dylan. He also thanked Sussex Tech for the value of what he learned in his technical area. “We have the opportunity to enter our adult lives a step ahead of everyone else [graduates] because of our technical area,” he said.
Valedictorian Priyen Patel of Seaford told his classmates that “we are all athletes in the game of life and tonight we have just won our Super Bowl.” He went on to say that all it takes to continue winning is a positive attitude.
Highlight of the evening was the presenting of diplomas to the graduates by school board President Patrick Cooper, District Superintendent Dr. Allen F. (A.J.) Lathbury Jr., Principal Dr. John Demby, and guest speaker Forcucci.
Priyen said it well, “Tonight the Ravens take flight - we are out of the nest.”