By Mark Boshnack
A bright and open future awaits the Charlotte Valley Central School class of 2012, but "we have no clue what tomorrow may bring," valedictorian Katherine Goss told the audience at Friday night's graduation. There were 29 students in the ceremony, which took place in the school gymnasium,
"Our only option is to be true to ourselves and be determined to succeed," she said. When students begin the next phase of their lives -- at college, work or the military -- life begins when they reach the end of their comfort zones, she said.
"It's then we will figure out who we are," she said. "Giving up can't be an option."
While it is impossible for everyone to become millionaires, everybody can make a life they can be happy with.
"Through hard work and determination we all can get what we want from life," Goss said.
She spoke about the important role that teachers, coaches, friends and family play in a student's life.
She reminded students: "This is not the end, it's the beginning of something great; so let's get started."
Salutatorian Robert Meyerhoff said his class was shaped not only by the happy memories of childhood going to school at Charlotte Valley, but it also all helped "shape us into who we are today."
This included the guidance of teachers who might have stayed after class to help academically or been available to keep students motivated. They also served as role models. School was "the first time we may have experiences success or failure," something that will help in the real world.
Looking at the audience, he said those who came to celebrate the event are "the ones who stood behind us, providing understanding as we grow into adults."
The graduates now have the knowledge to move into the next phase of life. He told them: "Follow your heart and use your head. The future is what you make of it."
Superintendent Mark Dupra told them: "We have enormous faith in you and your ability to change the future. Use your gifts to make this world a better place to live."
After the ceremony, two seniors reflected on the event.
Alexander Briggs said he will be going into the workforce as an auto mechanic. He said he will remember "all the smiling faces" at his graduation. What made going to school so enjoyable was "being with my friends."
Jasmine Jester said she will be going to the College of Saint Rose in the fall to major in psychology. The best part of school, she said, was the community support.