Patch High School celebrates largest graduating class

Sgt. Dan Maffett The Class of 2013 toss their mortarboards in the air at the conclusion of Patch High’s graduation ceremony held in the Sindelfingen Stadthalle June 5.

Sgt. Dan Maffett
The Class of 2013 toss their mortarboards in the air at the conclusion of Patch High’s graduation ceremony held in the Sindelfingen Stadthalle June 5.

Families, friends and educators packed the Sindelfingen Stadthalle June 5 as Patch High School’s Class of 2013 received their diplomas.

One hundred seventy-three students walked the line during the commencement ceremony — the school’s largest graduating class in its 34 year history. This year, the school boasts a 98 percent graduation rate, well above the national average of 78.2 percent. PHS Principal Danny Robinson attributed much of the success to senior class sponsors Lisa Kunstman and Bruce Engel. “The Class of 2013 has counted on Mr. Engel and Ms. Kunstman to assist them in meeting the [Department of Defense Education Activity] requirements for graduation throughout this school year. I appreciate all of their hard work and dedication,” he said.

This year the class claimed two valedictorians. Erica Eggleton and Beverlie Poblete were each given the honor after they earned the identical grade point average. The salutatorian was Lauren Howard. The evening ceremony began with the PHS graduation band playing “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates began their procession to the stage.

Members of the school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps presented the colors and were followed by a chorus comprised of seniors who masterfully sang the German and U.S. anthems.

In a change from past graduations, there was no keynote speaker. Instead, the program focused on the students. “We wanted it to be all about the kids,” said Robinson. “It was their show.” With that in mind, seven student speakers graced the stage.

Jamie MacPherson, the senior class president, welcomed those in attendance. The other speakers included Joshua Rivers, the senior class vice president; Jake Cranmer, selected by his fellow students as the senior class presenter; Caleb Winningham, the senior class treasurer; Howard, the salutatorian; and valedictorians Eggleton and Poblete.

In addition, seniors Anna Jaegar and Cassandra Scheiber performed “Home,” and the all-senior chorus sang “Let Me Fly,” a song penned by Travis Liquori, a member of the Class of 2011.

Robinson, Heidelberg District Superintendent Steven Sanchez and Col. John P. Stack, the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart commander, presented the diplomas while Regina Hendrix and Dr. Trent Blankenship, PHS assistant principals, read the students’ names and future plans.

While 80 percent of the students indicated they were headed for college, according to Robinson, there are several students who intend to serve in a branch of the U.S. armed forces.