MMI Preparatory School, Freeland, conducted its 120th Commencement Exercises on Thursday, May 24, as seniors were awarded diplomas by Llewellyn F. Dryfoos, III ’82, chairman of MMI’s Board of Directors.
This year’s graduating class of 37 seniors amassed more than $4.9 million in merit scholarships and awards. The 2012 graduating class also attained an average SAT score of 1719, several hundred points above state and national averages.
The commencement address was delivered by Maggie Mistal ’91, president and chief executive officer of MMM Career Consulting. Through her career coaching business, Mistal works with clients to help them find employment that is ideally suited to them. She has appeared on CNN 12 times. Mistal was previously the career coach for Martha Stewart Living Radio and hosted her own nationally syndicated radio show for six years on SiriusXM called "Making a Living with Maggie.” She answered listener calls and also interviewed numerous celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Deepak Chopra, actress Patricia Heaton and tennis great Martina Navratilova to inspire her audience to create their dream jobs.
During commencement exercises, valedictorian Paul Brasavage told his fellow graduates, "Through the discipline and structure we have learned at MMI, we can now engage in collegiate studies, become experts in our fields of study, and challenge ourselves to answer the world’s toughest problems. The Class of 2012 has learned that education is realizing that there is so much that is unknown, but that ‘the more you know, the less you do not know.’
"MMI is a preparatory experience. Through it, we are able to answer three important questions: What have we learned about education? What have we learned about the world around us? What have we learned about ourselves? Class of 2012, may the answers to these questions lead you through life so that your experiences may bring you to the answers to further questions that may benefit MMI, the world, and, most importantly, yourselves. Study hard, work together, change the world, and, as always, learn your lessons well,” he said.
In his address, salutatorian Roderick Cook said, "In a class full of so many different people, we were able to get along with each other almost effortlessly for all these years. In fact, our fellow classmates have encouraged each other to be themselves and supported each other’s passions and choices. I think that this is something unique and special about our class.
"You’d think that a graduating class of only 37 students would have a lot in common; however, even with such a small number of kids, our interests and personalities are scattered everywhere. We are social activists, soccer stars, future business leaders, theatre lovers, basketball players, junior scientists, volleyball beasts and artists, among many other things. MMI has inspired us and encouraged our pursuits in any area that we chose,” he said.
Members of MMI’s Class of 2012, their parents and their hometowns are as follows: Caroline Isabel Bandurska, daughter of Wojciech and Boguslawa Bandurska, Freeland; Maria Ourania Boosalis, daughter of Harry Boosalis, South Canaan, and Stella Boosalis, White Haven; Zachery Aaron Bowman, son of Keith Bowman, White Haven, and Wendy Bowman, Wilkes-Barre; Paul Brasavage, son of Mark and Bernadette Brasavage, Freeland; Briana Marie Cole, daughter of Charles and Carol Cole, Freeland; Mark Cole, son of Mark and Karen Cole, Freeland; Roderick Michael Cook, son of Brian Cook, Nesquehoning, and Melissa Hawk, Nesquehoning; Michael Stephen Deganich, son of Michael and Linda Deganich, McAdoo; Antonia Kitchen Diener, daughter of Ian and Emeline Diener, Pocono Lake; Taylor Jessica Farrell, daughter of Brian and Priscilla Farrell, Mountaintop; Brittany Lee Fisher, daughter of Kyo Fisher, Freeland; Tyler James Fulton, son of John Fulton, Drums, and Rachel and James Kuchar, Freeland; George Michael Gera Jr., son of George and Lee Ann Gera, Freeland; John Joseph Gera Jr., son of John and Jennifer Gera, Freeland; James Harley Gliem, son of James Gliem, Drums, and Lynn Gliem, Wapwallopen; Paul Nathaniel Aidan Gronski, son of Mark and Cynthia Gronski, Hazleton; Englysh Ann Handlong, daughter of Robert and Kimberly Handlong, White Haven; Morgan Elizabeth Herbener, daughter of Paul Herbener, Tunkhannock, and Brenda Herbener, Beaver Meadows; Megan Elizabeth Kost, daughter of Frank and Kathleen Kost, Freeland; Andrea Jeanette Lara, daughter of Guillermo and Sandra Lara, Hazleton; Michael Brian Macarevich, son of Brian and Carol Macarevich, Drifton; Zachary Patrick Marchetti, son of David and Andrea Marchetti, Freeland; Andrew Joseph Mhley, son of Andrew Mhley, Hazleton, and Theresa Mhley, Jeddo; Christopher Ryan Musselman, son of Sharon Musselman, Orangeville; Balaganesh Natarajan, son of Rajamanickam and Vijayalakshmi Natarajan, Mountaintop; Vanessa Lynn Novinger, daughter of Quentin and Lorraine Novinger, Mountaintop; Christian Alan Parsons, son of Alan Parsons, Drums, and Jessica and Brian Jacobs, Kelayres; John Louis Rish, son of Lorne and Veronica Rish, Freeland; Samuel James Scalleat, son of James Scalleat, Sugarloaf, and Angela Scalleat, Hazleton; Brianna Gwen Simpkins, daughter of Steven and Michele Simpkins, Drums; Corey Benjamin Sisock, son of Paul and Nancy Sisock, Freeland; Claudio Sokarda, son of Valentin and Ana Sokarda, Hazleton; Alyssa Irene Triano, daughter of Nicholas and Michele Triano, Hazleton; Ryan Jacob Twardzik, son of Timothy and Caroline Twardzik, Frackville; Alexander Chrisjon van Hoekelen, son of Cornelis and Lori van Hoekelen, Drums; Thomas John Wenner, son of Richard Wenner, Freeland, and the late Beth Ann Wenner; and Annika Kristin Wessel, daughter of Dierk and Andrea Wessel, Drums.