At the conclusion of graduation ceremonies Friday June 27, members of the Warrensburg High School Class of 2014 celebrate by tossing their mortar-board hats into the air. During the commencement exercises, the seniors were praised for their academic focus, spirit and diverse talents, as speakers noted they had achieved the highest S.A.T. scores among all 83 public schools in the Capital Region. Photo by Kim Ladd/Lifescapes Photography
With more than 1,000 eyes zeroed in on her during her school’s graduation ceremonies, Warrensburg High School Valedictorian Danielle Thomas stood at a lectern and gazed at her 62 classmates.
“Whether you take a path to higher education, jump straight into a career or join the military, each direction opens up a whole new domain of people, learning, experience and discovery,” she said. “We have the entire world at our feet.”
Warrensburg Central’s commencement exercises, held Friday June 27, were filled with descriptions of the exceptional talents of the students of the Class of 2014, with praises voiced for their academic, athletic and artistic accomplishments as well as their buoyant spirit.
Although the school’s Class of 2012 was identified two years ago as the most outstanding academically in the school’s recent history, the Class of 2014 had this week won considerable fame for the school, achieving the highest average S.A.T. test scores of any of the 83 schools in the Capital District. The news had just been released a day earlier, Aubrey Corriveau noted in her speech as the class of 2014’s High Honor Student.
She credited the faculty and staff for their support.
“Our teachers go above and beyond to help us succeed and they have a true passion for what they do,” she said. “It is rare to find a school where a student can play three sports, have a role in the school musical, be on the debate team, and stay on the High Honor roll.”
“Our school is where artists and athletes mix,” she added. “Warrensburg keeps us versatile and connects us to each other.”
Thomas also praised the school’s support, noting that Warrensburg Central provided a close-knit community.
“I am forever grateful to the teachers and administration for allowing us to work to our highest potential, and to our families for their constant support and caring.”
New Superintendent of Schools John Goralski hailed the students for their talents and unique personalities — but he voiced a warning, that they would all be dealing with misfortune.
“Bad things happen to good people — but good people continue to do the right thing despite setbacks,” he said. “Successful people don’t stay down long — they pick themselves up, keep true to themselves and keep moving forward.”
Goralski also advised the students to respect others’ perspectives.
“Every one of us sees the world through a different lens — it is very rare that anything is black or white — it is usually some subtle shade of gray — and everyone has something to offer.”
Warren County Judge John Hall, a Thurman native and Warrensburg High School graduate, also praised his WCS eduation. He observed he had sat through thousands of hours of instruction in college and in law school, but none of it compared to his experiences at Warrensburg High.
“I can absolutely guarantee that the best instruction I ever received was at WCS,” he said, praising famed local teachers Thelma Geraghty, Helen Cunningham and Paul Van Dyke.
He also noted that Warrensburg had produced a long lineup of local luminaries: Warren County Sheriff Bud York, former county sheriffs Fred Lamy and Larry Cleveland, former county Public Works Engineer Bill Lamy, and current county Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty. He said that the aspect all these community leaders had in common was they attended WCS.
The ceremony included a class video, which showed the students both in recent photos as well as pictures from their early childhood. The presentation evoked sighs and chuckles from the audience. The event also included various rousing and inspiring musical selections from the Warrensburg Mastersingers and the WCS High School Chorus.
Goralski, Principal Doug Duell and School Board President Laura Danna handed out diplomas.
Noting that education was a lifelong endeavor, Duell wished the graduates well as they pursue higher studies or careers. He noted that their success was dependent on their hard work and applying their character traits, intelligence, perseverance — and capacity to tackle hard work.
“Remember, regardless of the circumstances you are born into, you can choose to take responsibility for the outcome of your life,” he said. “Stay true to yourselves, your values, your families and your community!”