Someone once wrote, “Life is a series of memories we make.” The same can be said about the Eldred Central School’s (ECS) Senior Graduation Ceremony, as it is yet another memorable link on the chain of life.
On the morning of June 23, the sun was shining brightly and the temperature started at a cool 66 degrees, a relief from the recent heat wave. Teachers and school staff prepared for the morning events, and the Eldred Junior/Senior Band, led by Brian Nivison, gathered to perform the classic “Pomp and Circumstance” for the 61 Eldred seniors that would be graduating.
Family, friends and neighbors alike started to arrive on the front lawn of the school in order to watch the students graduate from high school life and move on to adult and college life.
As the band struck up a chord, faculty proceeded down the long row leading toward the stage and, then, to their respective seats. Following the procession of proud teachers, the seniors made their way to their spots on the stage.
The procession was led by seniors Caitlin and Kelly Hallock. Eldred guidance counselors Kimberly Gueren and Michelle Gallo stood proudly on each side of the walkway. After the National Anthem was performed by the senior members of the ECS a cappella group, the Key Elements, the seniors, teachers and crowd took their seats, and high school principal Scott Krebs and district superintendent Robert Dufour welcomed everyone to the ceremony.
The memorable events rolled on as the Eldred Hall of Fame induction was presented by ECS district clerk Bonnie Robertson. The award was given posthumously to Charles Kinne, who passed away in 2005. His widow, Laraine, accepted on his behalf.
Guest speaker Roger Bisland addressed the seniors in a heartfelt speech The memorable events rolled on as the Eldred Hall of Fame induction was presented by ECS district clerk Bonnie Robertson. The award was given posthumously to Charles Kinne, who passed away in 2005. His widow, Laraine, accepted on his behalf. Guest speaker Roger Bisland addressed the seniors in a heartfelt speech with these words of wisdom: "Success is not all about money; it's about family."
Bisland, whose grandsons Brian Hazen and Matthew Bisland were members of this year's graduating class, added, "Let me remind you, the learning experience never ends."
The student address was given by salutatorian Christine Donnelly. "There is nowhere else I'd rather go to school than here," she told the crowd and her class, going on to say that her friends were "her family." Awards and scholarships were given to the students by Krebs, with the help of Gueren and Gallo. A special award, the Class of 1962 Academic Achievement Award, was given to Rebecca Schadt by a member of the Class of 1962, which celebrated its 50th class reunion that same day.
Before the presentation of diplomas, the senior advisors gave flowers to Patty Guerriera, whose son Dakota was also a member of the graduating class, and to Mary Sutherland, who was not only the honored teacher but also the senior class advisor.
Sutherland announced the names of the graduates as Douglas Reiser, president of the ECS Board of Education, presented them with their long-awaited diplomas. Craig Burns was the final student to receive his diploma, and also a hug from his father, ECS Board of Education member James Burns.
These events will forever resonate in the graduates' minds as they go out into the world. Their memories of June 23 will stay not only with them, but also with everyone who was in attendance. Congratulations to the Eldred Senior Class of 2012.
[The River Reporter invites student coverage of the Eldred Central School District and Sullivan West School District graduation ceremonies. This year’s coverage was provided by Kaitlyn Malzahn, a junior at ECS and Melissa Goggin, a junior at SWS.]