By Krystle Morey
The front lawn of Granville High School was covered with family and friends to watch 105 members of the Class of 2012 walk across the stage Friday night, including two German exchange students, two college-bound juniors and Samuel McDermott who received his diploma from his father.
The sky was blue and the sun was hot after a cloudy day with showers.
“We were very lucky that the weather turned out,” said Superintendent Mark Bessen. Bessen narrated a popular theme of the soon to be alumni during their final moments as high school students, “Oh the places you will go.”
Bessen named specific students before saying, “Climb your mountain, you are on your way.”
Alicia Clark has come a long way from her aspirations listed in her sixth-grade yearbook at Mettawee Community School.
She grew from having goals of being a dictator to making her valedictory speech at the 126th Granville High School commencement ceremony. “We have found ourselves on a different course than we did six years ago,” she said. “We may not be preparing to be pro athletes or kings, but our futures are bright.”
“I plan on taking on the world head first,” said new alumna Shelby Morse who will be entering college as an undecided freshman at the University of Vermont.
Kathy Nelson, board of education president, stressed the importance of a good attitude in her graduation address. “Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude,” she said.
“My only regret is having only one year with these students,” said Principal James Donnelly, who started the year as an interim principal but was later appointed permanently.
Having done his research, Donnelly concluded that the events and popularities from 1993, when many of the graduates were born, had helped in the shaping and definition of the Class of 2012; from beanie babies to Furbies and from the election of Bill Clinton to the Dallas Cowboys beating the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. These events combined with those throughout the students’ lives aided in the development of the class’ strong sense of community in Granville.
This community support was displayed at the Baccalaureate event Thursday night, when the class encouraged senior Brett Colvin to continue singing after an iPod malfunction. The students clapped rhythmically to help Colvin finish what he had started.
“The greatest thing I can say about the class is that they treat each other well. Donnelly said. “. . . and that is success.”
“We have made it,” said Salutatorian Stephanie Boutin. “. . . and we did it together.” Reflecting upon the good memories and the bad, Boutin echoed Donnelly’s recognition of the challenges facing high school students from homework to break-ups. More importantly, these events helped them achieve happiness and success in who they have become and who they will be in the future.
The ceremony changed keys with Ethan Mack’s acoustic accompaniment of his classmates’ singing of “I Hope You Dance…” The students’ message was emulated in the first verse of the Sanders and Sillers song, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean; Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance; I hope you dance.”
The singing seemed to bring out the true emotion and realization of the crowd that the class was ready to dance among the rest of society outside the walls of Granville High School.
Class officers Taylor Davidson (president), Nicole Hunt (vice president), Darian Chapman (secretary) and Rachel Kristoff (treasurer) thanked parents and encouraging members of the district on their class’ behalf. Also recognized were advisors Samuel Frandino and Catharine Kilby for their “can-do attitudes” and graduation coordinators Laura Colombo and Sandra Weber who shared a celebratory high-five after the ceremony. “We made it through another one,” they said.
“Mrs. Colombo and I love being a part of graduation. Planning can be stressful at times but it is a lot of fun too,” Weber said. “Seeing the graduates and their families and friends celebrate this accomplishment is so awesome.”
Before the ceremony, Kristoff summed up the feelings of the class this way. “I’m excited, but I’m sad,” she said.
“It was bittersweet because the ceremony stood for all I had worked for and accomplished in high school,” added Davidson, the class president. “It also meant that I wasn’t going to be seeing my friends every day, but that I’ll be moving on with my life.”
The array of emotions was representatively plentiful amongst the crowd as well.
“I felt many emotions from joy and pride that Devin reached this milestone in his life to sadness in knowing that he is growing up and will be moving on to accomplish more milestones that I won’t be as much a part of,” said parent Kerri Thomas. “I wish contentment and success for Devin’s future; I hope that wherever life takes him he enjoys what he is doing and feels accomplished doing it.”
Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters and friends arrived as much as an hour early to share in what will represent another memory for each member of the Class of 2012.
“I am so proud of what a wonderful young woman Courtney has become but I was a wreck because my little girl is growing up,” said parent Bert Dennison. “Whatever path she decides to go on I know she will be successful and she will always have our support.”