ELDRED, NY — It was sunny, the kind of sunny morning that left a warm glow on all the faces of the 61 eager graduates. Not a single cloud adorned the sky as the members of one of Eldred Central High School’s (ECS) largest graduating classes proceded to the outdoor stage, led by Caitlin and Kelly Hallock. Other than the traditional opening of Pomp and Circumstance, the remainder of the graduation ceremony was anything but conventional.
After a heartwarming opener by ECS Principal Scott Krebs regarding all of the positive changes made during the year, such as the completion of the new building project that substantially increased the size of the school from its original 1950’s configuration, Superintendent of Schools Robert M. Dufour delivered a lovely avant-garde almost laundry-list style speech to the graduates. He opened by stating how all of the graduates were successful by purely sitting there, making it this far and being part of this momentous occasion. Later, his speech emphasized, among many other important life lessons, the value of surrounding yourself with close friends.
Fifty-year volunteer fireman and esteemed member of the community, Roger Bisland, was the guest speaker for the ceremony. He has also been a resident of Glen Spey years before “the corner stone” of ECS was even put into place. In his address he stressed that help was “a wonderful thing to give and a wonderful thing to receive.”
The Class of 2012 is indeed an extremely close-knit and exuberant group willing to not only surround themselves with friends but help those friends as well.
Although Valedictorian Erika Bowring did not speak at the event, the exuberance of the class was more than amply illustrated in Salutatorian Christine Donnelly’s speech that recounted on several of the classes more memorable moments throughout the year, such as running around dressed as zombies for their senior class prank.
In fact, even during her speech, a seemingly impromptu “power-clap” and crowd wave were initiated by the graduates themselves, the latter by track athlete Hunter Proscia. She mentioned nostalgically that while the six years of high school had flown by, the experiences gained from attending a small but nurturing school were simply unprecedented. Honors student Brian Hazen also aided in presenting flowers to members of the community that have supported the class and all their endeavors throughout the years.
The presentation of awards and scholarships lasted slightly longer than expected due to the sheer number given out to most of the class; roughly one third of the graduates had a Regents Diploma with Advanced Designation alone.
[The River Reporter invites student coverage of local high school graduations. Three students covered the ECS ceremony. Anja Loughman is a junior at ECS. Tyler Margotta photographed the event].