CANAJOHARIE – Seniors at Canajoharie High School were recognized for their uniqueness during the 138th Commencement Ceremony on Friday night.
“Just because we come from a small town doesn’t mean we will have a small impact. A graduate on this stage may one day build your house, teach your children, cut your hair, create the video game you play, or argue your case. We have a bright future, but we are much more than just our future careers. We are unique individuals with our own talent,” Valedictorian Lauren Mayer said.
A total of 67 students graduated in the Arkell Performing Arts Center. The seats were filled by parents, friends, teachers and district alumni.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland was nominated as the first inductee of the district’s alumni hall of fame. MacFarland graduated in 1977. In 2014, he was assigned as the commanding general of 3rd Corps at Fort Hood, Texas. He holds that position, as well as being commander of Operation Inherent Resolve.
MacFarland is stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, and was unable to attend. His niece Alicia Stetin accepted the awarded.
Salutatorian Zoe Plant reflected on the uniqueness of her peers during her speech.
“We all have talents. Mine happens to be taking tests. However, if I were to race Kenny Sullivan, I would lose by a mile and if Josie Hand and I both drew a nature scene, hers would be elaborate and mine would have a sunshine in the corner of the paper. Meghan Cortright can beat my time in the pool any day, no sweat and Emma Stortecky kicks my butt on the volleyball court,” Plant said.
Superintendent Deborah Grimshaw noted the diversity of the Class of 2016, and listing relentless, energetic and innovative as ways to describe them.
“Our world needs your skills and talent now more than ever,”she said.
Class President Renaldo McFarlane asked his classmates to follow their dreams. He described high school as book with no Spark Notes.
“I saw the growth this class has made and it’s not just in height,” McFarlane said
He led the students in moving their tassels from right to left, signifying their graduation. Confetti spewed across the stage and air horns were sounded. Members of the Class of 2016 hugged and congratulated each other while their families stood near the stage photographing the celebration.
“We are all different. In a small town like Canajoharie it is easy to see everyone’s individual talents, please don’t forget this when you go to big city colleges or enter the workforce. Everyone has value. Continue to treat everyone you meet with respect, find their abilities and compliment them,” Plant said.