Broadalbin-Perth sent the 123 members of the Class of 2019 off into the next phase of their lives with messages of love, wisdom and encouragement during Thursday evening’s graduation ceremony.
Principal Mark Brooks welcomed the graduates and their friends and family by celebrating all they have accomplished, including earning 1,323 college credits, competing on the state and national stages in sports and extracurricular competitions, putting on Broadway-style theatre productions, and having artwork displayed in regional and national shows.
In her speech, valedictorian Gabby Larsen encouraged her classmates to seek wisdom through their experiences.
“I challenge you to go out into the world and live,” Larsen said. “There’s a time for learning and a time for living and we have to remember to do both. Live your lives, and appreciate the wisdom you find in your experiences. I challenge you to recognize wisdom when you see it and use it to make yourselves a better person.”
Salutatorian Bobby Munn spoke about the importance of good character, reminding his fellow graduates that “how you carry yourself, and how you treat other people, is essential in succeeding throughout life.”
“Character calls you to do what is right, even when the world is telling you that you’re wrong, Munn said. “There is so much to be grateful for in life, and it would be a shame if we only paid attention to ourselves and our own needs, and not care for the people around us.”
Class co-president Stephanie Somers emphasized determination, a strong work ethic and perseverance as the keys to success: “Persevering through difficult times and the effort of going above and beyond one’s expectations makes you stick out amongst the crowd and gives you a sensation of personal triumph.”
Board of Education President Robert Becker and Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson also spoke before handing out the diplomas. Becker advised the graduates to never withhold food from an angry badger as he encouraged them to try to heed the words of wisdom given to them by their family and teachers. Tomlinson told the graduating students that he didn’t write his speech — they did. He peppered his speech with many of the seniors’ yearbook quotes, which included words of advice, famous sayings, and even some inside jokes.
Other highlights from the ceremony include:
- Class co-presidents Stephanie Somers and Taylor Orapello presented the gifts of a donation to the district’s Backpack Program; a permanent recognition at the high school for the Odyssey of the Mind team that advanced to the World Finals four times in 10 years; and a framed class photograph.
- Wyatt Couperus and James Mosher, who are both enlisting in the U.S. military, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Senior members of the high school choir sang an arrangement of “A Happy Beginning” by classmate Caitlin Murray.
- Somers and Orapello also read a letter from the Broadalbin Class of 1964 to the Class of 2019 with words of wisdom as the Class of 1964 approaches its 55th reunion.