emoment with carl

After four years of hard work and sacrifice, commencement is one event that no graduating senior wants to miss.  This past May, six seniors were absent from our Saturday morning commencement ceremony, yet everyone, including their parents, were bursting with pride. The six seniors were teammates on our Landmark Conference championship baseball team, and competing in the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional Championships in nearby York, PA.

The Friday before commencement, the Blue Jays secured a win, setting up a Saturday morning game. The seniors had a choice to make--return to campus for commencement or remain with their teammates for the next game. The Jays stuck together, with the promise that, somehow, we would make sure they had the opportunity to walk in a ceremony and be awarded their diplomas.

On the Saturday evening of commencement day, their baseball and college careers concluded. Six Blue Jay seniors--Kevin Elwell, Kyle Fackler, Josh Kwak, Richy Masciarelli, Brian Portillo, and Frank Ragozzino---gathered with me, other members of the administration, and with their parents, friends, and teammates, at Kevin Scott Boyd Stadium on campus. The seniors walked the bases one last time and received their diplomas at home plate. In addition to hard work in the classroom, these seniors left their mark on the field.  Fackler set the E-town season and career records for at-bats, hits, and runs scored. He was named All-America Second Team by D3baseball.com and Landmark Conference Player of Year. Elwell and Masciarelli were voted All-Landmark Second Team. And Portillo was selected to the Mideast Regional All-Tournament Team. Just as important, said their coach Cliff Smith, were the seniors’ leadership, enthusiasm, and teamwork. They deserved a special commencement ceremony. Thanks for the memories, guys. Blue Jays Always!

Enjoy the moment,

Carl J. Strikwerda,

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Elizabethtown College
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