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ELDRED, NY — The 48 graduates of the 2019 class received diplomas and parting words of advice as they sat before their proud families, faculty and administration, and other guests assembled in the Eldred High School gymnasium on Saturday, June 29.
Kim Gueren, guidance counselor, acted as master of ceremonies for the event.
Salutatorian Patrick Kinney, bound for Yale University in the fall, welcomed those present. He recounted the good times enjoyed by and with his fellow seniors and said that, being one of them, he didn’t feel like giving advice was his place. But he did remind his classmates to “be a good person, work hard and be who you want to be.”
Superintendent Dr. John Morgano added to that counsel by reminding the graduates of the impact of their decisions on others. He admonished them to be strong and determined to do the right thing, and to be the person others follow, not a follower. He said, “And for heaven’s sake, put the phone down. If you look up, you may see life going by. When someone tells you that you can’t accomplish something, move forward with even greater determination and show them they were wrong. Hard work is the prescription for success. Persevere.”
PJ Meyer, a member of the class of 2003 and a graduate of Binghamton University and Harvard Business School, is employed as a marketer for Microsoft and gave the commencement address. He said, “Don’t underestimate your potential or the ways you can change this world. Keep learning. Keep growing and keep dreaming.
Explore with an open mind, but be true to yourself. The path forward isn’t always a straight one. Pursue your passions. Stand up and speak out for what you believe in. Don’t allow others to diminish yourself. Don’t give away choices due to indecision. Continue to cultivate relationships with the people around you. Thank your parents. Treating others with kindness and respect will open doors. Don’t overlook the significance of the people you will meet. Seek to understand rather than to judge. There is a great deal of good in this world… be part of that good. Go make your mark in the world.”
Valedictorian Hannah Jennings is bound for SUNY University at Buffalo. She reminded her classmates to “celebrate the little things. Passion is good. Recognize that every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a positive impact on others. Make good choices. Be kind. Follow your passion. Be authentic and take on every opportunity. Go out and chase your dreams… and stuff like that.”
Bonnie Padua read a letter from principal Jean Maxson to the graduating class. “Showing up leads to experience, and experience will be your greatest teacher. Do the very best you are capable of and keep showing up. And call home at least once a week,” advised Maxson.
Each year the graduating class selects a teacher who has made a significant impact on their lives. Mrs. Padua was so honored this year.
The graduates will take this advice with them as they pursue their dreams in employment (5), military service (5), SUNY Orange or Sullivan (14), other SUNY institutions (11), other colleges and universities (12) and National Academy of Sports Medicine (1).