Ticonderoga High School graduates, from left, Ashley Costello, Hannah Herbst and Wen Na Zhang perform with the school chorus for the final time during commencement exercises at Ticonderoga High School.
The future is uncertain, but that’s OK.
Riley Chapman, valedictorian, urged his classmates to look forward without worry as he spoke at the Ticonderoga High School graduation June 22.
“At some point in the past four years you likely have asked and tried to answer the question: what in the world am I going to do with my life?,” Chapman said. “And there is a good chance you have come up with an answer by this point, or at least a temporary solution. It is probably not perfect or complete, it doesn’t have to be.
“The last four years, well 13 for some of us, have been great, but I think you would agree they have been rather predictable,” he continued. “School...in Ti, and then some more school...in Ti, and then we moved, to the high school...in Ti. You see, for the first time in your life you get to go out and create your on world. You get to choose what you’re interested in, pick who influences you, decide many aspects of how you will make your world. Today, you become world makers.
“However, leaving behind predictability means facing the unknown, and the unknown can be very intimidating,” Chapman said. “I’m sure you remember how intimidating the high school seemed at our eighth grade promotion. How on earth were we going to find our way around? It’s over three stories tall!”
The valedictorian told classmates to have confidence. Things will work out.
“Now you face another round of uncertainty, and I urge you to tackle all the unknowns that come up,” he said. “At times, you may be tempted to turn back, but it pays to keep going, to work hard, and to trust that in your future the dots will connect.
“It may not be clear which path you are on, but you strive to continue,” he concluded. “Strive to see new sights, and find new places, meet new people. Strive to go on, to find whatever it is that pulls you to the end of this trail. Then, maybe then you will have lived life to its fullest. But, if we’re all going to be honest with ourselves, I have to admit that figuring out what comes at the end of the path was never the point in taking a path to begin with. So, carpe diem, seize the day, and enjoy your journey.”
Ticonderoga High School’s Class of 2013 is certain to have great success in the future, believes Wen Na Zhang. What’s important is that graduates remember their roots.
Zhang, the class salutatorian, urged her classmates to stay true to their heritage during commencement exercises June 22. Quoting Paulo Coelho, Zhang said, “The secret to happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”
“The drops of oil represent our values, our family, our home, and who we are,” she said. “Some of us are entering the military. Some of us are entering the workforce. And some of us are going off the college. But wherever you go, I ask that you remember where you come from, I ask that you remember the ‘drops of oil on the spoon,’ because that is where you will find who you are.”
Zhang also took time to acknowledge parents and teachers for their contributions to the class.
“For 18 years, they have lived and breathed solely to see where we would end up today, many times giving up their own happiness just to put a smile on our faces,” she said of parents. “They stood right behind us, waiting to catch us when we stumbled and sometimes even when we fell. They structured themselves so that we could be safe and comfortable in this dangerous world.
“No matter how much we complained and whined, especially about the horrid senior projects, our teachers continued to encourage us, knowing that one day, their efforts would pay off,” Zhang said. “And they have. The evidence is right here with us today. Thank you teachers for doing all that you do. And I know that you have become like family to many of us, in the classroom and on the field.”
Zhang concluded by challenging the Class of 2013.
“Before I end here today, I would like to ask one more thing of you and that is to continue to set goals and continue to dream because this is just the end of the first chapter of our story; the real journey is only just about to begin,” she said.
Ticonderoga graduated 57 seniors. The ceremony included the presentation of awards and scholarships, presentation of lowers to graduates and musical selections.