Penn Foster Plans Largest Graduation Ceremony to Date, Highlighted by YouthBuild CEO, America’s Got Talent Star

May 24, 2018

John Valverde, CEO of YouthBuild will Keynote Commencement; Quintavious Johnson, Finalist in NBC-TV Hit Show and Penn Foster High School Graduate, will Perform Special Musical Selections

SCRANTON, PA (May 24, 2018) — Penn Foster, a leading education and skills training organization for today’s evolving workforce, will celebrate its largest-ever group of high school and career program graduates at its 2018 commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 2, 2018. The event will include a keynote address from YouthBuild CEO John Valverde and performances by Quintavious Johnson, a finalist in America’s Got Talent.

So many Penn Foster graduates requested to receive their diplomas in person this year that the event was moved to a larger venue and will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township, PA. This year’s commencement will honor more than 550 graduates—some who have traveled from as far as Washington State for the event—and will be witnessed by an estimated 1430 family members and supporters.

Penn Foster’s largest-yet commencement will be highlighted by a number of special speakers and presenters, and one very special Penn Foster High School Diploma program graduate.

Following opening remarks from Frank Britt, Penn Foster President and CEO, John Valverde, CEO of YouthBuild, a longtime Penn Foster partner, will serve as the commencement keynote speaker. Valverde joined YouthBuild in 2017 after decades of work as an advocate for creating access to opportunity and removing barriers to forge positive paths. He will offer graduates a message of creating meaningful and productive lives for themselves and their families while giving their energies to improve the world around them.

Adding a special touch to the ceremony will be Quintavious Johnson, who in 2014 placed fifth overall in the NBC-TV hit show America’s Got Talent. Johnson enrolled in Penn Foster High School as a means to fulfill his high school requirements while juggling a non-stop travel and singing schedule. Not only will Johnson receive his diploma, but he will treat attendees to special music he selected to honor his fellow graduates.

“For Penn Foster to invite me to come and to sing at our graduation is a huge honor, and it means a lot to me as a graduate myself,” said Johnson. “Even though many of us haven’t met, I feel like we’re like a big family. We can all relate to each other, because we all pushed through together, and I’m so excited to see and encourage all these other graduates, and to say ‘you did this!’”

Finally, as part of the commencement, Penn Foster will honor its 2018 Graduate of the Year, Kevin Stankovich, who will also give remarks to the graduates. Stankovich has completed four Penn Foster diploma and career programs since 2010, and uses the knowledge he has gained in running his home design-build business in Riley Township, Michigan, and in teaching his own students at a local community college. In addition, Stankovich was named to DEAC’s roster of 2018 Outstanding Graduates.

“We couldn’t be more proud to honor this year’s Penn Foster graduates,” said Lisa Rutsky, Vice President of Education and Academic Dean, Penn Foster. “Some of these students have overcome incredible odds and challenges to earn their diplomas and degrees, and many have made a huge effort to make it to the ceremony to be recognized by their peers, their families and our school community. This is their day, and we plan to make it very special for them.”

About Penn Foster
Penn Foster is bridging the gap between education and economic opportunity to build tomorrow's workforce. For over 125 years, Penn Foster has helped individuals develop the skills they need to pursue purposeful, and productive careers through affordable diploma, certificate and degree programs. With more than 40,000 graduates each year, Penn Foster's digital and blended learning programs are delivered in a self-paced model along with personalized academic and career coaching. For more information, visit  or our partners site at

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