TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga High School Class of 2010 has the power to change the world.
That was the message delivered by valedictorian Ben Chapman during commencement exercises June 26.
"I challenge you, the Class of 2010, to change the world," Chapman implored classmates. "I challenge each one of you to use your own unique skills and talents to, in some way, make the world a better place.
"Now, this doesn't mean that I expect all of us to go out and win Nobel Prizes - although I would be impressed if we pulled that off," he said. "No, I think that each of us can help out in our own unique way, however large or small. And as a whole, as a class, as a community, as a society, together we can make a difference."
Chapman said graduates shouldn't be intimidated by his charge.
"Perhaps, when you think of changing the world, you think of ending starvation in Africa, or improving our economic or education systems, or running for public office, or perhaps something entirely different," he said. "What's important is that you act. It doesn't matter weather you're fighting terrorism in the Middle East, fighting forest fires in the Southwest or fighting domestic violence right in your own community. You are making a difference in the world. Even if you are able to change one other person's life for the better, you have changed the world.
"It doesn't matter what you do: whether you're an artist, a teacher, a business person or a mechanic," Chapman said. "There's a problem out there that needs your help."
Chapman went on to thank those who have helped the Class of 2010.
"I'd like you all to take a moment and think about where you are today," he told classmates. "Today we're graduating from high school. Now, think about all the people who have helped us get to this point today. I'd like to send out a collective thank you to all the teachers, the coaches, the parents, the family members, the friends, to all of the people who have helped us get to where we are today - thank you for everything."
Salutatorian Brittany Holt also spoke at the graduation ceremony. Holt said she has been awed by her classmates. The class has done much and will do much more, she noted.
Principal Mike Graney noted the Ti High Class of 2010 is the smallest in four decades with 60 graduates.
"This class may be small in size, but it has accomplished a great deal," he said.
The ceremony, held on the high school's front lawn under cloudy skies, also featured the presentation of dozens of awards and scholarships, the traditional presentation of flowers to graduates and music by the school band and chorus.