SCHROON LAKE - The Schroon Lake Central School Class of 2009 is well-prepared for the future - whatever it may be.
"Today marks the beginning that all 23 of us enter upon our futures," Nicole Beers, class valedictorian, told classmates at graduation ceremonies June 28. "From this second forward, each one of us have completely different futures in store. Each one will have times of amazement, exhilaration, success, joy, and challenge. When these challenging times arise in your vast futures remember what we have been so lucky to learn in the last 13 years of our lives."
Beers credited teachers, school staff, parents, family and friends with providing the lessons necessary for future success.
The valedictorian urged classmates to seek out happiness, recalling a scene in the movie Night at The Museum II.
"Larry Daley, the night security guard, says to the magically alive statue of Theodore Roosevelt, 'You know how you were telling me that the key to happiness was something, but then the sun came up? I think I figured it out. It's doing what you love.' To this Theodore Roosevelt replies, 'I was going to say diet and exercise, but the love thing is good.'
"Well, I agree with the night security guard, although Roosevelt does have a good point," Beers said. "I wish that all of you find what you love to do. For some it may be reconstructing people's faces as a plastic surgeon, taking criminals off the streets as cops, helping children in Third World countries as a nurse, fighting fires, designing cars, providing guidance to students, making art, freezing memories through photography, cooking, raising a family, or enlightening children's minds through teaching. Wherever your life leads you remember what you know, love what you do, and be happy."
The commencement exercise included the awarding of diplomas and awards to the class.
It also featured remarks by Emily Whitney, class salutatorian, who noted the Class of 2009 had established a reputation.
"We work together, we welcome new people, we bicker, we laugh, we cry, we love, we are THAT class and we are family," she noted.
Schroon Lake school is a close, but welcoming community, she noted.
"I know this first hand," Whitney said. "In seventh grade, I moved here from Singapore, and even though Schroon Lake Central School was much smaller than my previous one, it was still intimidating being the new kid. But that intimidation soon vanished when I was quickly absorbed into the crowd.
"There are certain members of the class that have been together since kindergarten and share 13 years of memories," she continued. "Even though my memories only go back six (years), I feel as if I was there all along."
Whitney recalled the death of a teacher's spouse two years ago and the student reaction.
"I knew we had to do something," she said. "So everyone in the art class, began to paint a muriel. It didn't take long before the entire class was in the art room helping in whatever way possible. Our love for our art teacher shown through our muriel will never end and shows the compassion our class possesses."
Art teacher Anne Gregson, who is retiring this year, also spoke, thanking students and the community for their support.
Whitney concluded, "As I look back through the years, all I can think about is how this one chapter of our life is over. And as tears come to my eyes I must remind myself that a new one has yet to begun. So I tell you now, don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."