Delmar grad, local meteorologist Seymore gives commencement speech

By Mike McClure

Delmar class of 2013 graduate Alex Seymore did double duty at this year’s commencement, which took place last Friday at the school. A meteorologist for local tv station WRDE, Seymore was asked to help the school district make the call on whether the daylong rain would go away in time for the outdoor graduation at 7 p.m., then he gave the commencement speech.

“Alex, we believe in your forecast for tonight and we believe in all of our orange and blue graduates,” Delmar Superintendent Charity Phillips said in her introduction of Seymore.

Delmar class of 2021 members share a laugh during last Friday’s commencement. Photo by Mike McClure

The ceremony began with the traditional processional, with the teachers leading the graduates out on the field. The graduates ended up playing musical chairs, with some class members waiting to find a seat as the music ran out. Given the year the students faced in their senior year due to the pandemic, Delmar High School Principal Mike Bleile just smiled.

“Does everybody have a seat?”, he asked as the final class members found their seats.

According to Bleile, members of the class of 2021 received $3.9 million in scholarships, will attend 37 colleges and universities, and will serve in six branches of the armed forces. Ninety four percent of the class will attend a two or four year school, will serve in the military, or will be fully employed coming out of high school.

“Your world was changed literally overnight,” said Bleile, referring to the pandemic. “I’m extremely proud of this class, not only for your accolades, but for your resiliency.”

“Once you find out what’s important in your life, push everything else out of the way so that it doesn’t interfere with your dreams,” Bleile added. “You are the class that has given me hope for the future.”

Christine Park offered the moment of silence, asking those in attendance to remember Cpl. Keith Heacook and to honor those serving in the armed forces and those who were at the ceremony in spirit.

“This is the day we have been working for and we are finally here,” said Salutatorian Krunal Vijay Patel, who came to the Delmar School District when he was in fifth grade. “Being a part of this loving community allowed us to bond in a special way.”

“I want us to be remembered as resilient individuals,” he added, referring to the fact that the class members finished their careers in their bedrooms with online learning. “Change is inevitable and we must learn to adapt and embrace it.”

Seymore, who graduated from Delmar eight years ago, started Delmar Weather on Facebook and Twitter his freshman year at Delmar. He began watching the weather channel when he was four years old and went on to major in meteorology and climatology at the University of Delaware. After graduating from UD in May 2017, he began working at WBOC before becoming a meteorologist for sister station WRDE in October 2019.

“It is such an honor to give the commencement speech tonight,” said Seymore. “I never would have dreamed eight years ago that I would be asked back to give the commencement speech.”

“You all have already shown you can accomplish anything you put your minds too,” he continued. “Even with all this change, you all have persevered.”

Seymore told the graduates that they will choose their next chapter in life. He encouraged them to find their passion.

“Don’t let others tell you what your passion is. Only you can determine what your passion is,” said Seymore.

For Seymore, that passion has always been the weather. He said he loves thunderstorms, snow, and standing in the wind and rain.

“Everything about the weather fascinates me,” Seymore added. “From that young age of four, I knew I wanted to be a meteorologist. This town has always shown so much support for what I was passionate about.”

As a student at Delmar, teachers, students, and other members of the community asked him about the weather. The Delmar Weather page was started for the Delmar community, but as community members shared it with their friends, it grew. By the time he ended the page in 2017, it had 30,000 followers. He said that was one of the reasons he was hired by WBOC out of college.

“Some days can be tough but I love my job, and as a result I am happy with my life, and that’s important,” said Seymore.

Valedictorian Rachel Erin Noonan wrapped up the night’s speeches. “The moments that we shared can not be wrapped up with a bow tie. They go with us wherever we go,” she said. “We may not have realized it at the time, but we will cherish them for the rest of our lives.”

Noonan noted that the whole class was together for the first time since March, when the pandemic began. Class members endured online classes and modified or cancelled extracurricular activities.

“These struggles forced us to adapt,” said Noonan. “Each of us thrived despite the circumstances, overcoming the challenges of online learning.”

“It doesn’t matter what you want, just keep moving forward until you achieve it,” Noonan added. “It is your life, live it at your own pace and walk your own path.”

Members of the class of 2021 took their valedictorian’s advice to heart as they walked across the stage and collected their diplomas. Delmar Middle School Principal Andy O’Neal and Delmar High School Guidance Counselor Ilah Preston stood at the end of the stage telling the graduates to slow down as they approached the steps because the wet grass made the stage and the steps slippery.

“I’ve got the momentum,” one graduate exclaimed as he came across the stage. All of the graduates made it down the steps and back to their seats safely, in time for the celebration to begin.