CCS class of 2014 salutatorian Emily Gadarowski (left) shares a smile with her colleagues while lining up for their graduation procession, from right,
CCS class of 2014 salutatorian Emily Gadarowski (left) shares a smile with her colleagues while lining up for their graduation procession, from right, valedictorian Clayton Harrington, Sarah Cuddihy and Shepard Gordon. (Tom Momberg)

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Cambridge Central School board of education president Paul Baker-Porazinski awarded 73 diplomas and a few General Education Requirement certificates during its 123rd annual commencement ceremony on Friday evening.

According to high school associate principal Owen Maranville, 23 of those who graduated are attending four-year colleges or universities and 27 plan to attend a two-year college in the fall. 19 graduates are entering the workforce and four are going into the United States armed forces.

That diversity of post-high school progression was the theme set by commencement speaker Jeff Goodell, who is an author and contributing editor of the Rolling Stone Magazine. The once Cambridge resident said the question for the graduates is what lies ahead.

"Looking at you, I'm sure some of you know exactly what you are going to do," Goodell said. "That isn't where I was when I was 17. I had no idea where I was going."

Goodell said he toured Europe in his youth, reading novels in youth hostels and started writing in a journal. "I started to have an innate notion that books were interesting: Something I never learned in school I'm sad to say. Writing helped me understand and explore the world around me and the world within me."

Eventually piloting his way through a degree from the University of California, Berkeley, Goodell afterwards found a passion for journalism.

"In journalism, I found a use for my curiosity, my love for adrenaline and my desire to make a dent in the world, however small, Goodell said. "Without really knowing what I was looking for, I found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I didn't find my future by talking to career counselors, as much of an advantage that might be. I didn't find it by taking career workshops, as valuable as those might be I found it by throwing myself into the world: Having adventures, taking chances and grappling with opportunities in my way."

The students that addressed the body of the graduating class had a similar message of the uncertainty and differences of everyone's futures, but recognizing a common start.

Class salutatorian Emily Gadarowski addressed her peers, mentioning how happy she is to have shared memories with her friends and classmates to look back on.

"As we celebrate the end of high school and the beginning of the rest of our lives, we will always have these memories of Cambridge in common as we move forward, no matter how different our future lives may be," Gadarowski said.

Valedictorian Clayton Harrington reflected on growing up with the same individuals since elementary school, particularly the joy and excitement that little things brought them in their early lives, like breaking out of the school to race to the swings on the playground.

"There are not many things currently that can recreate that kind of joy and wonder," Harrington said. "In a way as departing seniors, we are all charging out the recess doors once again: With a similar sense of excitement to the world outside of our small, quaint town. We will make new friends and learn new things; most importantly: We will gain new insight on the outside world."

A number of scholarships, academic and athletic awards were bestowed to the graduating seniors. For more about the graduation schedule or for more upcoming news from CCS, visit the school online at http://www.cambridgecsd.org/news.cfm?school=0. See the Banner's Facebook page for more pictures from the event.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg