Whitehall graduates 46

By Dan King

“The easy part of our lives is over.”
That was the message from Whitehall High School’s salutatorian Abby Dickinson during her speech at Friday’s graduation ceremony. And although the easy part may be over, Whitehall’s 46 graduates are optimistic about the future.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, interim principal Mark Doody opened the ceremony by commending the class for its hard work. He said 62 percent of this year’s graduates will be going to college, five will join the military, and the others will be going directly into the work force.
“Today we celebrate their achievement of completing all the necessary course work,” Doody said. “I will always be beholden to the Class of 2016.”
Both Dickinson and valedictorian Haley Wiskoski focused on looking ahead, while also reminiscing on their time at Whitehall Central School.
Dickinson spoke first, focusing on individuality and urging her classmates to do what makes them happy in life.
“Just live your life and do what makes you happy,” she said. “Go out and do what you want in life … we’re human, nobody’s perfect.”
Her focus was on the unpredictability of the “real world.”
“I think it is important for you all to remember that things changes,” Dickinson said. “Life is like a camera … if things don’t work out, take another shot.”
She concluded her speech with a joke: “At age 4 success if no peeing you pants, at age 12 success is having friends, at age 16 success is having your driver’s license, at age 35 success is having money, at age 50 success is having money, at age 70 success is having your driver’s license, at age 75 success is having friends and at age 80 success is not peeing your pants.”
Then the Top 10 were recognized and the senior members of the music department conducted a presentation.
The annual scholarships and awards were given out next, with 22 grads taking home at least one and many receiving multiple awards. This year’s award and scholarship winners were Grace Alexander, Rebecca Badger, Miranda Bascue, William Berthiaume, Joseph DeLorme, Dickinson, Logan Dudley, Rachel Dumas, Corey Fitzpatrick, Ashley Griffin, Samantha Kasuba, Conner Lavoie, Jocelyn Longtin, Breanna Martel, Seth Martindale, Shawn Millard, Betsy Molgano, Courtney Rozell, Derek Thomas, Tyler Thomas, Allison Truttling and Wiskoski.
Awards varied in the amount of money and the rationale for the awards.
Three additional awards were given out: Wiskoski won both the Air Force ROTC scholarship (which covers a variety of college expenses) and the $5,000 Joseph and Daniel Mastrovich Award, and Alexander won the $500 Dorothy Smith Memorial Award.
Wiskoski, in her valedictorian speech, took a similar approach to Dickinson, focusing on the future.
She said a four-letter acronym sums up what will make her and her classmates successful in the future. The acronym, RISE, stands for: resilience, initiative, scholarship and experience.
“There are three types of people in this world,” Wiskoski said. “Those who make things happen, those who watch things and those that wonder what happened.”
Wiskoski said she’ll miss the closeness of Whitehall High School, adding: “Our class will be ready for whatever life throws at them.”
What has high school taught Whitehall’s valedictorian? “That it is okay to not please everyone.”
She stressed that in life it is important to “balance work and play.”
Wiskoski concluded with a quote from Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
Then Doody took a moment to recognize students who had taken technology classes through BOCES and those who had taken AP classes or other classes for college credit. Interim Superintendent Bill Scott and Putorti handed out the diplomas to the graduates, and then the tassels were turned.

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