Grads take first steps on new journey

From left, seniors Julianna Taylor, Juliet Mancini and Julia Viscosi take smartphone photo together prior to the Fonda-Fultonville High School Commencenment on Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

FONDA — At Fonda-Fultonville High School Saturday, the families and friends of the class of 2017 seniors filtered into the auditorium to watch their loved ones pass a new milestone of their lives. Ninety-three students graduated.

Kicking off the 64th commencement, the first honor student Avery Cook helped everyone come together to applaud and recognize the graduates who are going in to the military.

Cook told the seniors that graduation day is a special day and it is about remembering the unremarkable memories that have been made.

“We take with us the memories and friendships that were built with these,” said Cook.

Second honor student Sarah Subik continued with the idea that graduating high school means it’s time for students to “take the first steps of a new journey.”

She said the great thing about leaving high school is that “every choice will be yours.” She told the students that they were in charge of their choices and that it is a time for either a “bright, new fresh beginning or a continuation of your life.”

These are the times to “create friendships and lasting memories” third honor student Emmalee Baker assured everyone. She told the students to follow their passions and “do what you love and stop waiting for a better time,” adding that 13 years of schooling has now gone by, which means that there may not be a “perfect time.”

Although there may never be that right time, Alexander Mahon, fourth honor student, mentioned to his fellow classmates to “live your life with no regrets.”

Living life this way can help you to “become the best person you can be,” guest speaker Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara added, reminding students to “work hard, be humble, courteous, respectful, get involved and have fun.”

Congressman Paul Tonko compared the graduating class to a constellation. Calling the graduating class a “unique collection,” Tonko reminded students to “dream and do what you love.”

The final words to the graduates ended with Superintendent Thomas Ciaccio. This time Ciaccio compared the graduates to redwood trees.

These trees, much like students, have a “root system” where students are “fused together with family, friends and teachers.” This unique root system “binds people together, holds you up, and gives an unlimited amount of advice, love and support,” Ciaccio said.

The high school band and select choir also help share the important day. The select choir sang a Disney farewell starting with “You’ve Got A Friend In Me.”

Principal Aaron Grady helped honor and recognize the students who have collectively received about $150,000 in scholarships. Graduates received a standing ovation as the “bright, driven, compassionate and well-rounded” students of Fonda-Fultonville walked across the stage receiving their diplomas.

By Patricia Older

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