HOOSICK FALLS >> Hoosick Falls Central School graduated 95 students on Friday evening, each of them ready to move on into the next phase of their lives, be that the workforce, college, or the military.
"The Class of 2016 has achieved many successes," said principal Stacy Vadney, "This I can assure you: The graduates sitting before us tonight can match up against any of their peers, anywhere in the country."
The 143rd annual commencement took place on the Ken Baker football field, adjacent to the school. Music for the ceremony was provided by the underclassmen of the HFCS symphonic band, under the direction of Robert Allen. Besides the processional, which was the traditional "Pomp and Circumstance" by Edward Elgar, they also performed the Star-Spangled Banner and a number of musical interludes throughout the evening.
Class salutatorian Anna Wysocki gave an entertaining speech, which included coordinated chants and dances from other students, and included many callbacks to everyday life at HFCS. "Tonight is a night that everything becomes very real," she said, getting more serious, "This senior class is something special. We're a group of people that genuinely gets along and enjoys each other's company... High school and life in general is about relationships, the special bonds you form with people you meet. That's what people will remember you by."
"This is it. Graduation. It's kind of a daunting term, isn't it?," said valedictorian Jeffrey Brewer, "We're willing to give our best shot at adulthood. It's the least we can do, after all, everyone around us already has... On a serious note, as parents and family members, you've always been there for us, and we can never repay that debt."
"Illicit excitement, illicit intrigue, illicit passion," he concluded, "just don't do illicit drugs. Stay cheeky, Class of 2016, and be remarkable."
The guest speaker was William Clairmont, currently a teacher and assistant principal at Mechanicville High School. He came to HFCS in 2008, as a full-time math teacher. After seven years with the school, he made the difficult decision to leave to pursue a career in educational administration. He received his teaching degree from the State University of New York Plattsburgh in 2007.
"I can't express to you graduates what a tremendous honor it is to be speaking on your behalf ," he said, "An educator's dream is to make an impact on the lives around us, and it's rare to get to see that first-hand... As you graduates embark on the next chapter of your lives, how will your choices will affect the totality of your whole life? No one said these choices will be easy. But remember, as Nelson Mandela said, choose out of hope, not fear. Congratulations Class of 2016."
The officers of the HFCS Class of 2016 were Megan Flynn, president, McKenzie Bradley, vice president, Alexandria Betit, secretary, Brewer, treasurer, Wysocki, historian, and Heidi Bossoni, student council representative. Wysocki, Raven Brenenstuhl, Betit, Brewer, and Joshua McCart were National Honors Society advisors. Bossoni and Marta Niles were Student Council presidents. Their class advisors were Jessica Dougherty and Laura Pushee.
"It is truly unbelievable that it is finally June 24, 2016. Many of us have been counting down to this day since September. Some started junior year," said Flynn during her speech, "It is easy to feel down, seeing all the negative things going on in the world around us. But it only takes one person to make a difference, and any of the people sitting over there can make that difference."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.