ELDRED, NY — The previous year and all its uncertainty has caused many of our nation’s students to hearken towards the past. Many students recalled the days when they learned from sitting …
ELDRED, NY — The previous year and all its uncertainty has caused many of our nation’s students to hearken towards the past. Many students recalled the days when they learned from sitting at their desks rather than their kitchen tables. They looked back on the familiarity of school trips, sports and school dances with an almost nostalgic longing.
However, graduation ceremonies are all about looking towards the future.
Thirty-one graduating seniors stood proud on the front lawn of Eldred Junior-Senior High School as their family and friends watched them. The trials and tribulations of the previous year were behind them and although the uncertain future loomed ahead, it looked a lot brighter than the past.
“Graduates, you have endured the mysteries of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ and sometimes ‘C’ weeks, and learning from a computer that worked most of the time on a network from the 70s. You’ve endured a worldwide pandemic, and through it all, you’ve been able to stay focused on getting the job done,” said superintendent Dr. John Morgano.
Principal Traci Ferreira was also impressed by the student body’s adaptability. “This has been a difficult year and they have persevered and just did it with style and grace,” she said.
The in-person ceremony proved to be a welcome change compared to 2020’s drive-in ceremony at Yulan ballfield.
Happy memories were all around. Ferreira recalled “Senior Prank Day,” when the class of 2021 filled her office with balloons. She added that the favor was returned when a couple of seniors left their cars unlocked in the parking lot when they were off attending their trip to Hershey Park.
The themes of hope and finding one’s place in the future were present in many of the speeches. In her address to the graduating class, valedictorian Emily McGrail spoke about how she was known as the short one in her family. She talked about the impossibility of growing.
“No matter how hard I set my mind to it, this is one of the things that I simply cannot achieve. Not because I’m lacking, but because I wasn’t designed to. What I hope for my classmates and myself is that instead of striving after a long list of unattainable goals, we would discover what we were created to do,” she said.
The ceremony was also a time of giving for many. Scholarships and awards were presented to the seniors in accordance with their diplomas. The money received by all the students totaled more than $20,000.
One such award was the Virtual Valedictorian Scholarship won by Gabriella Del Rio. The $1,000 award is given out by the National Society of High School Scholars to 10 students who submit special video messages to their graduating class. Del Rio’s speech touched upon the importance of education and the vast possibility of the future.
“Our future is not defined by a single moment of achievement, for there are many obstacles and successes that will come and go. It is up to us to remain educated and focus on our goals,” said Del Rio in her speech.
The class of 2021 also ended the year with a positive credit in a class fund. They chose to give the remaining money to local organizations.
They included the Yulan Fire Department, the Highland Lake Fire Department, the Lumberland Volunteer Fire Department, American Legion Ambulance Service and Can’t Hurt Steel.