Among the graduates-to-be singing Phil Collins’ “On My Way during Lake George High School commencement ceremonies Saturday June 23, are (left to right): Hayley Humiston, Melissa Tenne, Hannah Pliscofsky and Hope Dane.
At graduation ceremonies two years ago, Lake George High School Principal Francis Cocozza promised each year’s sendoff for seniors would incorporate a surprise.
Last year, suspended above the commencement audience, he plunged off a climbing wall.
At Saturday’s 2012 graduation event, Cocozza delivered on his pledge again — by performing a rap and “spoken word” duet with Senior Richard “DJ” Jelley, exploring the theme “Enjoying the Journey.”
“Search for knowledge, challenge your mind, challenge the establishment,” Cocozza said in a narrative as Jelley injected street language with a rap beat into the mix.
“Relationships in life are what you make of them — they’re what defines you,” Cocozza continued, urging the students to strive for integrity, respect and fairness.
Offering mini-speeches focusing on aspects of Enjoying the Journey” were eight of the 10 Lake George Honor students: Jamie Jarett, Mackenzie Perkett, Rebecca Kandora, Hayley Humiston, Courtney Laczko, Stephanie Raven, Patricia Breault and Sean Burden.
Jarett kicked off the series by reading the Shel Silverstein poem, “The Search” — the topic that she, Perkett and Humiston explored.
“We will always remember, and are very thankful for all our friends, families, teachers and coaches who have taken our journey at Lake George with us,” Jarett said.
Perkett urged her classmates to not just focus on their destination, but savor the experience along the way.
“Life moves pretty fast — If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” she said, tracing the students’ journey from kindergarten through high school. “Enjoy the life-long memories you’ve created because today our search together isn’t coming to an end, it’s a new beginning.”
Their classmates followed by illuminating the The Goal, and The Future.
Stephanie Raven observed the students had been setting goals, big and small, all their lives.
“Although we are unsure of what’s to come, the lessons we have learned while achieving these goals will help motivate us to succeed in the future,” she said.
Laczko added a thought.
“May we return to our roots — we should never forget where we came from,” she said.
Commenting on The Future, Burden said life would be full of unexpected twists, requiring changes to plans and goal-setting.
“We are never sure what our futures hold,” he said. “We can hope, dream and wish, but the only thing that can assure our goals being achieved is our hard work and perseverance.”
Noting the graduates-to-be had been well prepared to pursue success, Superintendent of Schools Patrick Dee advised them to also be mindful of time-honored principles.
He said that the students had unfortunately grown up in an era when positions of authority were compromised by money and power, but they were well prepared to follow a path of integrity.
“While academic mastery and Independence are incredibly important to obtain your diplomas, they pale in comparison to the lifelong gifts of belonging, generosity and community,” he said. ”While many examples exist of corruption and greed in our world, there are shining testimonies of how respect, kindness, and selflessness can translate into monumental success that transcend any situation.”
Dee noted that how in a state championship track meet in Ohio, a runner carried a fallen competitor over the finish line, sacrificing her own race outcome to help a competitor meet her goal. He said such an act probably will be inspiring a thousand other acts of generosity, kindness and compassion.
Dee urged all not to seek mere status, wealth, or power, but to take a path of compassion and selflessness.
“Inspire others to greatness and help them along the way,” he said. “Expect from yourself the extraordinary, but understand the path to success will always be even greater than the accomplishment itself.”