Schroon Lake Central School seniors, from left, Brianna DeZalia, Jeffery Armstrong and Lindsay Reynolds embrace before commencement exercises at the school.
The Schroon Lake Central School Class of 2013 is right where it should be, according to valedictorian Dan Maisonville, ready to serve others.
“We have been created to primarily serve, love and care for others and we have each been given unique characteristics to enable us to fulfill this purpose,” he told classmates during commencement exercises June 21. “We have been placed on earth to make a difference in people’s lives.
“As I have spent time with you, my classmates, I have come to see the unique characteristics and attributes that each one of you have: generosity, encouragement, compassion, diligence, joyfulness, leadership, supportiveness, integrity, industriousness and patience,” Maisonville said. “Each of you has been gifted with attributes and characteristics that are needed in people’s lives. The world needs you to serve them, care for them, and make a difference through your compassion, encouragement, leadership, and joy.
“You have already done this in my life through serving me, caring for me and being who you are,” he said. “I encourage you to continue to utilize your strengths and abilities, who you are, to serve others and make a difference, just as many of the individuals tonight have done for us. By doing this, you will see great and amazing things happen in your life and the lives of others.”
The valedictorian also thanked those who helped the class reach this point — parents, family, teachers, coaches and community members.
“As a class we have spent a great amount of time together and have developed a deep camaraderie and have a number of things in common,” he said. “However, one of the most important characteristics that we all have in common is that we are only able to be here tonight because of the care, love and investments of many different people including our parents and families, our teachers and coaches, our community and the Lord.”
Schroon Lake graduated 19 students.
The graduation ceremony included the presentation of flowers, a slide show and the awarding of scholarships and awards. It also included several speeches.
Clare Whitney, salutatorian, pointed out how each class in school taught life lessons.
“One thing that I have always loved about math is that there is one answer; you are right or you are wrong and that’s that,” Whitney said. “But in life, that will not always be true. There will be times that life is not black and white and those are the times that we will have to create our own formulas and plug in the variables of our own lives to solve our problems. And no matter what we get for the answer, we can learn from it and maybe even get the chance to try again.”
Schroon Lake students also learned the value of community, Whitney said.
“The basics of science remind me a lot of our class itself,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot about cells and how they have many organelles inside them that allow them to function. From mitochondria to lysosomes, they each have a different job and serve a different purpose. Like cell organelles, we will all be moving forward in different directions and leading different lives, but like a cell, when we come together we create something greater than any one of us individually — the Class of 2013.
“No matter what happens, we will always be there for each other,” she said. “In the end, we know we have each other; to celebrate with when times are great or to lean on when times are not-so-great.”
Rita Herbst, a Schroon Lake math teacher, was selected by the class to deliver the faculty address. She reminded students they are — and will remain — important to teachers.
“It’s been a privilege learning about you, learning with you and learning from you,” Herbst said. “I’m a better teacher and person because you were my students. I want you to know Schroon Lake teachers care about each and everyone of you. We love you. Please come back to SLCS and let us know how you’re doing. I have no doubt that you all will go on and do great things.
“These are difficult times for teachers,” she concluded, “but a class like this makes it all worthwhile.”