The Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy class of 2016 graduated Thursday at the Bayfront Convention Center, and among those receiving diplomas was one young man who has big plans for the future and great memories of the past.
All thanks to a special relationship.
David Lawrence, 18, graduated from Collegiate Academy magna cum laude on Thursday and in the audience to watch were family and friends, including Tom Vogt.
Lawrence and Vogt were matched up 10 years ago by the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, a nonprofit organization that helps children by paring them up with volunteer mentors.
“He’s always helped me out with anything I needed when it comes to school or my social life…anything,” Lawrence said. “He’s always been that person I could talk to. That’s very important to me”
“Just to see him blossom into the polite young man he has become and top of his class at Collegiate, it’s been a real joy and honor,” Vogt said.
Collegiate Academy graduates celebrated their accomplishments, but it was also a celebration for the Big Brother Big Sisters.
Lawrence and Vogt are the group’s second-longest match.
“Part of our program is to get kids excited about school, help with tutoring, help with science projects,” said Paula Hayes of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. “It’s been a long haul, this is a very long match and Im real excited for David.”
“They did a great job matching us up,” Lawrence said. “I don’t know where I’d be without this.”
Lawrence will attend Penn State Behrend in the fall, where he plans to major in business.