PLATTSBURGH - When Plattsburgh High School valedictorian Adrienne Munger reflected on graduating, she found the milestone to be anything but just the end.
"Today is an ending, today is a beginning, but most importantly, today is a celebration," Munger said during the school's graduation ceremony June 26 at the Plattsburgh State Field House.
The celebration, said Munger, was for all she and her fellow graduates have learned and the values they gained along the way, as well as celebrating themselves for reaching this goal. "We celebrate our teachers who have supported and encouraged us. We celebrate our families who love and care for us," said Munger. "And, we celebrate our friends and classmates for the laughter and smiles given to us."
In addition to all the traditional subjects, success was one of the valuable lessons Munger said was taught at PHS.
"We have been extremely fortunate for the instruction of amazing teachers who see our potential and help us to live up to it," said Munger, who noted success is "putting forth your best effort," "working together," and "embracing the beauty of differences," among other values. "Above all, success is kindness. We must never forget to take the time to lend a hand when someone is struggling. We have learned that actions of kindness and peace speak the loudest."
It's taking time to notice those little acts of kindness that will help even the most vehement pessimist have a brighter day, said salutatorian Alexander Gladwin.
"It sounds so stupidly simple, but you won't believe how much your day can change when you look outside or are with a good friend and think, 'This is nice,'" said Gladwin.
Though he admitted he has "no idea" what's in store for the Class of 2010, Gladwin said it all relies on each of them.
"Your future relies on you - what you do, how hard you try, and the sometimes-good sometimes-bad factor of luck," Gladwin told his fellow graduates. "But, if you try hard and fall on the bad side of the luck scale - and try not to think I'm being too cheesy or sentimental here - then just keep doing what you're doing. You're hopefully doing what you can, and you're bound to come upon some good luck eventually."
Senior speaker Zainab Afzal said the main thing to remember is that through the triumphs and the tragedies over the years, their class has been through it together.
"We've been able to do so much in the past four years, and all of that time has led us to this, to this day ... Our class has been so together for the past 12 years, and it's a strange feeling to think that we will now be separated," said Afzal. "However, I know that we'll share friendships and connections with each other forever. It's always sad and a bit frightening to move on from our comfort zone, but I'm sure that we are all excited to start this next chapter in our lives."