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Hoosac Valley Class of 2006:They Will Not DisappointBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, June 10, 2006
Cheshire - Hoosac Valley High School Class President Michael Ludwig summed up a June 9 Hurricane graduation during his speech.
|Class salutatorian and valedictorian Amanda Hoag and Molly O'Grady
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"Our class is the future of America -and while this is a scary thought and a daunting task- I know that the graduates in front of you will not disappoint."
The 95-member Class of 2006 marched beneath a red-and-white balloon-built arch led by Class of 2007 President Laiken Rapisarda. Once the diplomas were in hand, a simmering excitement bubbled over into cascades of glittering confetti, balloons, and silly string strands.
Ludwig described the class and their four years at the school.
Class President Michael Ludwig
"We worked hard through these four years, but I would be lying if I didn't say we were a class of procrastinators," Ludwig said. "We did put our nose to the grindstone when we needed to and we sat back and relaxed pretty much every other time."
"We aren't the little kids we walked in as. We are now adults that will walk out of this gymnasium to change the world and leave our mark." Class President Michael Ludwig
"What I've learned here is the value of education, a sense of community and school pride. I've learned how to be part of a team, how to be a leader,and I've been given the tools necessary to enter the world and make a difference."
And as time tries to diminish the school to distant hallways in collective memories, Ludwig told the seniors "Don't forget."
"Don't forget what Hoosac Valley has done for your character. Remember the off-white walls and the desks covered in writing as the place where you were molded into the best person you can be."
Salutatorian Amanda Hoag acknowledged the emotions of commencement.
Salutatorian Amanda Hoag
"Many of us have tears in our eyes knowing that tonight is the end of our years together here at Hoosac Valley. Others are filled with delight knowing that this is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives."
Hoag offered the wisdom of Walt Disney.
"A great man once said 'all our dreams can come true-if we have the courage to pursue them.' This statement was made by Walt Disney, a man who was not afraid to dream or to make his dreams a reality. I believe that everyone in the world, especially those in this room right now, has the same power that Walt Disney did."
Hoag thanked teachers and parents for their support and their tireless efforts on the students behalf.
"You have shown us the way to achieve our goals, given us the courage to stand on our own feet, and the confidence to chase our dreams."
To the Class of 2006, Hoag offered these words:
"All of us know what the past has taught us, we are not sure what the future holds for us but always remember that we can be anything that we want to be here in the present. Never let anyone or anything stop you from dreaming or reaching the dreams that you have."
Valedictorian Molly O'Grady
Valedictorian Molly O'Grady focused on an oft-used adult refrain.
"I'm sure that we've all heard the 'high school is the best four years of your life' line from more adults more times than we would care to count," she said. "Who knows if they are trying to comfort, to console,to live vicariously, or to simply frighten our teen-age innocence with this bit of unasked for wisdom?"
"We have been waiting for this to come since we entered school our senior year, feeling big and powerful and ready to conquer the world. And now that it is finally here, we are left wondering, are we as prepared as we would like to think? Can we conquer the real world as well as we managed our high school careers? What if high school really does end up being the only highlight on our paths of life?"
"But these questions are not only unanswerable, they are unnecessary."
O'Grady acknowledged that the Class of 2006 is leaving a familiar comfort zone.
"We will be moving on from high school and we will be forced to create our own new worlds."
And the class is ready, she said.
"In a senior class of less than 100 students, diversity was basically non-existent. We all had to deal with our labels-but it was learning to live with these assumptions and yet still be yourself despite them that made us stronger. As we go on to college or working, let us continue on this path, and let us not characterize or be characterized by stereotypes, let us not feel trapped by other's ideas about us."
"Let's not look at this ceremony as the end of something. Let us look at it as the beginning of something, the end of something good, but the start of something better." Valedictorian Molly O'Grady
"We always need to remember what it is like to be classified, to be judged without basis and we need to be sure not to do the same."
The world they are entering is bursting with diversity and challenges of every sort lie ahead, O'Grady said.
"Measure the advice you receive wisely and don't allow pride to cloud your vision. Be the stronger person in every situation you encounter; be the one with the open mind, the one ready to challenge, the one who's always prepared."
"Be yourself, but don't be afraid to grow. Don't be afraid of change."
"Be ready to jump in without testing the water, don't be afraid of enjoying the rest of your life as much as you've enjoyed the last four years. Remember the innocent assumptions of happiness and perfection as we entered our kindergarten rooms and don't let it leave you."
"No matter where we go or where our dreams lead us, you can be sure that we are well prepared for our future. We have been taught by the best and that is a fact we will never forget." Salutatorian Amanda Hoag
"Be as excited about your future as you were about playing in the sand box and be as accepting of difference and of change as you were with the ever-changing hairstyles from kindergarten until now."
"Don't let high school be the best four years of your life-let it only be the beginning of a long path of success."
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-823-9367.