Students told to be ‘unique’ and follow their own path

The Fort Plain graduating Class of 2019 is shown. The commencement ceremony was held Saturday. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

FORT PLAIN — Be unique.

The valedictorian and salutatorian of Fort Plain High School stressed the value of being yourself at the Fort Plain High School graduation yesterday.

“Life loses its luster if you decide to give in and be just like everyone else,” advised Valedictorian Bryce Thibodeau.

Being unique “means you are unlike anyone else, that we are all different,” said Salutatorian Sherry Huang. “But it does not mean that you re above anyone else.”

They urged their classmates to look ahead and be their best.

“It’s time for new experiences and memories,” said Huang. “You can always reread a chapter, but you can’t rewrite it.”

“Give everything you do in life your best effort,” said Thibodeau. “In the real world, there are no participation trophies, so everything you get has to be earned.”

Thibodeau urged his classmates not to be afraid to take chances and to be ready to change directions if need be. Mistakes are inevitable, but “there is no problem with that as long as you learn from your mistakes,” he said.

Huang said she learned that middle school can be “the meanest stage of our life,” but she didn’t consider herself a “saint” either. “But I’m going to gently remind everyone to just be kind,” she said. “I’ve never regretted holding the door open for someone, or just keeping a snide remark to myself.”

Quinn Jones, senior class president, welcomed the graduates and the audience, admitting “it’s certainly strange to be on this stage.”

“We have all worked hard to be here.”

Superintendent David Ziskin spoke before the salutatory address assuring the graduates of the community’s support.

“The residents and alumni care deeply about this school and you. This community wants the best for its children.”

“Fort Plain will always be your hometown and your school,” he said. “You are Toppers and will always be Toppers.”

Mary Beth Hudyncia, a board of education member, presented Haslett Foundation Memorial Awards, and Myrna Herb, president of the Fort Plain Scholarship Association, awarded scholarships. Honor graduates were especially recognized. Other awards were given to students at a ceremony prior to commencement.

Principal Deborah Larrabee spoke just before diplomas were given and advised graduates that “the biggest hurdles in life are challenges that inspire us and bring important people into our lives.”

By Patricia Older

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