By WHITNEY RANDOLPH
FORT COVINGTON–– The Salmon River Central School District Class of 2014 threw their mortarboards in the air in celebration as balloons fell from the ceiling signifying the end of their high school chapter and the opening of a new one.
The 77 students of the Class of 2014 gathered together one last time Friday with their families, friends, classmates and teachers to celebrate all of their accomplishments and to reflect on their years at SRC.
Salutatorian Becca Leroux began her speech by thanking everyone for being present for one of the most important days in their lives.
She broke into tears when it came to thanking her family members for their support and attributed the fact she was standing where she was because of them.
She left her classmates with a final quote, “We have all been told that life begins after high school, but I strongly disagree. I believe that our lives started seven years ago ... For most of us, the years since then have made us responsible and intelligent. We are who were are today because of the people around us. The good, the bad and the ugly, all made us who we are and prepared us for the future. It was not always perfect, but we are better people because we had each other,” she said.
She recalled preparing to write her speech and looking at other valedictorian addresses. She came to conclusion that they all thought they knew it all and she said that was not the case for her. She decided to talk about the people who made high school special.
“I don’t have all of the answers, and I am still figuring things out for myself. I am not sure what advice to give. I just know that no matter what I hope you follow your Superintendent Jane Collins praised the members of the Class of 2014 for their accomplishments.
“Tonight, seniors, we are here to honor you and to recognize you. In the areas of academics, 83 percent members of this class will earn a Regents diploma and within that group, 22 percent of you obtained the advanced Regents diploma. Of that one person will have an advanced Regents diploma with honors. These are impressive results. Congratulations, you have risen to the high academic standards set by New York state and you have done extremely well as a class,” Ms. Collins said.
She also noted that additional 33 percent of this class has successfully completed a very rigorous course of study in career and technical education by successfully obtaining a CTE endorsement certificate from New York state.
Ms. Collins pointed out there were 19 students who were wearing the National Honors Society recognition scarf. These students demonstrated high standard in scholarship, leadership, service and character, she said.
The school superintendent then recited some of the messages the students left in the yearbook, saying, “More evidence of solid character and wisdom are in these quotes from the yearbook.”
She quoted senior Raienkonniss Edwards, “We will be known by the footsteps we leave behind.”
Ms. Collins agreed with that assessmen. “Ladies and gentlemen, you will be known by the footsteps you left behind, because tonight as you prepare to leave Salmon River and go into the next cycle of your life, we would like to wish you well on your next journey... Seniors, congratulations on all of your accomplishments, you are all winners... Our wish for you is to soar on eagles wings and to enjoy life.”
The ceremony began with the processional of the students lead by class valedictorian Katrina Martin. Some of the Native American students were dressed in their traditional clothing instead of the standard cap and gown.
nce all of the students were situated on the stage, Karlee Square performed “O Canada,” Ashley Hotaling performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and salutatorian Becca Leroux recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Afterwards the Mohawk Club Singers and Akwesasne Woman Singers performed the “Sken:nen” song.
Graduating seniors Raienkonnis Edwards, Troy Francis and Jared Jock gave the Thanksgiving Address in Mohawk to thank all things on the earth, in the universe and the Creator.
Ms. Collins welcomed everyone to the school’s 59th Commencement Ceremony.
Tonight we come together as one school community representing the communities of Akwesasne, Bombay, Fort Covington and Westville to honor the achievements of these 77 members of the Class of 2014. I would like to recognize the parents and family members and thank you for all of your support over the years.”
Ms. Collins also recognized board member Robert Durant, who was unable to be at the graduation and who is stepping down after 25 plus years of service on the school’s Board of Education.