POTSDAM - A date that has been years in the making arrived Saturday night for Norwood-Norfolk Central School seniors.
Sitting on the stage at Hosmer Hall on the SUNY Potsdam campus, it was time to mark the end of 13 years of school at Norwood-Norfolk.
Its an exciting night for everyone, a night you have prepared for so many years, high school Principal Robin Fetter said.
Turning to the family members who filled the seats at Hosmer Hall, she said, This is it. This is the big night. They are absolutely beautiful, and Im proud of every one of them.
Mrs. Fetter noted that the school has recently been given a silver ranking by U.S. News and World Report, which looked at whether a schools students were performing better than statistically expected for the average student in the state on math and English Regents exams. They also calculated how well the least advantaged students (minorities and low-income) performed on the same tests. Thats quite an honor. Its a lot to our students who rise to the challenges we put in front of them, she said.
So many of you have done so much extra, and I appreciate that, Mrs. Fetter told the students.
And now, the principal noted, it was time for them to move on to new challenges.
In the process, Superintendent Elizabeth A. Kirnie said, they had made their teachers and parents proud of what they had achieved.
Welcome to the stage, graduates. Four years ago you were just finishing eighth grade... and here you are. Look what youve done, she said.
Today is your day, Mrs. Kirnie said, but it was also a day for parents who were watching their students move on in their lives. Its a leap of faith for them as well as you.
Board of education President David Flint said the students would face challenges as they left high school.
Todays graduates face a great deal of uncertainty as they prepare to pursue a career in this ever-changing world, he said.
His advice was, Dont be afraid to ask for advice. Keep your family and friends close so they could offer a blanket of security when the students needed it most.
Teacher Jane Squires, who was selected to be the guest speaker for Saturday nights ceremony, told the students that their perseverance and persistence had paid off.
Congratulations. We are really proud of your accomplishments, she said.
She said the students started showing the traits of persistence and perseverance as elementary students and continued to hone those qualities over the years. That led them to a successful career at Norwood-Norfolk and an appearance on the Hosmer Hall stage.
This is the feeling you should remember after all the festivities, Ms. Squires said, suggesting now was the time to pursue their goals, even if they didnt go as planned. Great leaders are persistent and persevere through large and small obstacles. I hope you use your skills of perseverance to become the successful people I know you can be.
As they moved forward, they should always remember their roots at Norwood-Norfolk Central School, valedictorian Emily Gonthier said.
Tonight we gather at an event many of us have waited for in both nervous anticipation and great excitement for years. A time full of change for all of us moving on from high school and all of the hard work, friendships and memories weve forged, she said.
In their 13 years together, the students had watched each other grow from children to young adults and witnessed all the stages in between.
Weve been there to laugh at each others embarrassing moments and watch each other shine. And together weve all made memories and shared good times that will surely last us a lifetime, Ms. Gonthier said.
We are a new generation, all going out into the real world, and while life may take us in different directions, we will always share these times at Norwood-Norfolk Central School, she said. And I hope that as we leave this point in our lives, we may all follow our aspirations, reach our dreams and live life to the fullest.