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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — Everyone fanned themselves with their programs.

The Hoosick Falls Central School Class of 2022 graduation took place Friday evening, as a mini-heat wave settled into the region. Even before the graduates made an appearance, parents in the packed crowd could be overheard chatting about the day’s meaning and the bittersweet prospect of their child moving into adulthood.

After the band performed its sound check, “Pomp and Circumstance” began to play, as the 79 graduates made it to their seats on the bleachers in front of the crowd. Each graduate, in either a blue or white gown, held small bouquets of red and white roses.

The opening speaker, High School Principal Michael Hall, spoke highly of the “huge number” of students in this graduating class and then delivered career-oriented advice.

“Find something you love. You’ll be working for the next 40 to 45 years of your life,” he said.

The Pledge of Allegiance followed, led by Jania-Lee Harris and Hunter Hathaway, and the Symphonic Band played the national anthem.

Speaker Megan Perry, class president, reminisced about a trip to Washington, D.C., fights in the school bathrooms and relationship breakups. She thanked many who helped her along the way, with an emphasis on her time playing soccer.

She predicts her classmate Amber will marry rich; Drew will be a “perfect productive member of society;” and the rest of her classmates’ futures are up in the air.

Baylee Hoag and Rhiannon Lane, accompanied by Dr. Ambigay Yudkoff and Martha vonSchilgen, stood in front of the band to sing the vocal selection, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. After the music, the symphonic band played selections from “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Valedictorian and speaker Emma Cross thanked the people who helped her get to this point, and she got emotional when thanking her family.

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“We begin our individual adult lives tonight,” she said.

Michael Cornell was the Class of 2022 salutatorian.

The principal recognized the military service members in the audience, as well as Tucker Thayne, who will be joining the service after graduation. “God Bless America” was performed by Dave Sutton in honor of service members.

During the Presentation of Gifts, the roses that the graduates walked in with were given to the audience members who supported them during the past 13 years. Walking through the audience to hand out their roses, each graduate was able to have a special moment with their loved ones. The graduates smiled as they hugged their families and took photos in the crowd. Most rose recipients had tears in their eyes.

Guest speaker John Jennings, a veteran, is reestablishing the business program at the school, and he’s a self-proclaimed “Dead Head.” When he gave his speech, his back faced the audience so he could speak directly to the graduates. He also made sure to mention that he “didn’t stop at the Legion today.”

“Don’t be afraid to try,” Jennings said as his first piece of advice. He also told graduates to “focus on where you wanna go, not where you currently are.” After his speech, he got a standing ovation.

During the handing out of the diplomas, each family cheered loudly for their respective graduate. The school song, performed by Sutton and the symphonic band, echoed throughout the school grounds.

Closing remarks were delivered by Student Council representative Riley Haynes. She started her speech by mentioning how she had written a different one, but it wasn’t personal and her father said it didn’t sound like her. So, she wrote a new one.

She said that the graduating class has “adapted” and “changed for the better” throughout their time in the school district. But, she added, “at our core, we stayed the same.”


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