Logan Snow (left) assists Ashlee Estes (right) with her cap before the AuSable Valley graduation ceremony June 28.
CLINTONVILLE — The doors opened at 9 a.m. as students walked passed the outdoor fountain into the main hallway of AuSable Valley for the last time.
They all gathered into the cafeteria, wearing their summer dresses with high-heeled shoes or suits with ties that needed some adjusting.
Some graduates felt excited for their last day, while others became teary eyed by the memories “good ole days” of high school and leaving their fellow classmates going off to different colleges ranging from Clinton Community to St. Lawrence.
As time grew near, they started to put their caps and gowns on, trying to figure out how to put the caps on and how the tassels were supposed to go: the left or the right side.
“If anybody needs a pin for their cap, we have pins over here,” said the group of teachers helping the students get ready for their big day: David Waterhouse, Danielle North, Ingrid Cote, Renee Rhino and others.
Rushing to get ready, tassels became tangled, caps fell off and zippers started breaking from the red and blue gowns that were too baggy for the soon-to-be graduates’ bodies.
Like a middle school dance, the gentleman in blue were on one side with the ladies in red on the other, taking photos and discussing their future plans, while some stayed alone nervous of the crowd they had to face.
“Okay. It’s time to line up everybody!” Rhino screamed throughout the low-roofed cafeteria.
As they had practiced before, with the red on the right and blue on the left, they lined up at the doors in the cafeteria stretching out to the back along the wall in an L-shaped line.
In the gymnasium, the music of the AuSable Valley choir and band filled the air as they sung “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the students warning alarm that the graduation was starting.
A bagpiper started and led the soon-to-be graduates from the cafeteria into the gym, where they all walked slowly in by twos until the last two blue gowns walked in and sat down.
Graduation was held on Saturday, June 28 at 10 a.m. with guest speaker Congressman Bill Owens.
Between the valedictorian, Rachel Knapp, and salutatorian, Haley Sprague, the salutatorian started the speeches by talking about how they were looked upon starting with the struggling year as a high-school freshman to the hassles of being a senior.
“The biggest ones are senioritis and procrastination,” Sprague said. “This really started to come about when Mr. Waterhouse assigns the big I-search paper, Mr. Driscoll’s projects and, for those of us who took physics, the regents.
“These tasks may seem like they are a big task now, but we will have even bigger ones once we enter college and the real world.”
Sprague has a final GPA of 96.49 and will be attending St. Lawrence University where she will major in neuroscience. She is the daughter of William and Amanda Sprague.
After Sprague came Knapp with her speech of informing the class of some major changes heading their way as they walk across the stage, leave high school and enter into the real world.
“One of the most exciting changes will definitely be no longer having a dress code,” Knapp said. “Girls will now be able to wear spaghetti straps freely, and boys can wear hats whenever they don’t feel like washing their hair.
“I assure you, this is a major victory for us.”
Besides the dress code, Knapp continued her speech about changes after high school leading into college such as sports and athletics, no parents for guidance through college and changes in day-to-day schedules.
Knapp’s final GPA was 97.78, and she will be attending SUNY Geneseo, where she will participate in the honors program and major in Pre-Med. She is the daughter of Derek and Jennifer Knapp, who was the valedictorian of the Class of 1982 and has been a math teacher in the school district for more than 25 years.
“To quote Dr. Seuss, ‘And will you succeed? Yes, indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!” Knapp said. “So congratulations Class of 2014!
“Unfortunately, we are freshman again!”