SARANACLAKE -Serious messages tempered by jokes filled the Civic Center June 24 as Saranac Lake High School celebrated its 115th commencement.
The commencement speaker was Dick Roberts, a 1985 SLHS graduate and marketing executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
"Never forget that you come from the Adirondack Mountains," Roberts said. "You come from Saranac Lake. Who cares if people can't pronounce those names. Get out there and make us proud."
Harriet Elise Pedersen, the 2011 salutatorian, had three central pieces of advice for her classmates. The first was the importance of taking chances.
"Even if your dream is considered crazy, or impossible or even if it just doesn't make much money, go for it," Pedersen said. "From now on, we get to lead our own lives, so don't let anyone tell you how to live yours."
The second was the importance of continued learning.
"Learning is not something that just stops when we exit the doors of the classroom for the last time," Pedersen said.
The third was the importance of staying positive.
"When we're able to see the good things in life and in others, our lives are much richer and less stressful," Pedersen said.
Wyatt Thomas Daviau, the 2011 valedictorian, gave a largely comedic speech with an earnest message.
"It's ridiculous to think that we're not going to deal with tragedy and injustice, and heartbreak and crippling hard work," Daviau said. "Don't forget how easy it is to change a life by bringing someone into the celebration that is your own life."
Gerald Goldman, the Saranac Lake Central School District superintendent, said graduation night helped reinforce the fact that those who raised the graduates did a good job.
"It's a night to feel good about being a mom or a dad, or an aunt or an uncle, or a grandma or a grandpa, or just a friend to those people who are sitting in those chairs," Goldman said. "You got them this far, and I'm sure it wasn't easy."