SOUTH DAYTON - Thirty-four graduates from Pine Valley Central School received their diplomas Sunday afternoon during the school's 65th annual commencement. After receiving their diplomas, out of the auditorium they went and into the heat, where they tossed their caps into the air.
High school principal Cathy Fabiatos began the ceremony by welcoming family and friends to the special occasion. She acknowledged the support from everyone that has made Pine Valley Central School magnificent. She expressed her gratitude for the support from all factions, including the community and school. She also gave out some advice to the graduates moving on to the next phase in their lives.
"You are only limited to your imaginations. Invest in dreams and stay determined to achieve your goals. Try, and if you fail, try again. Education is a gift that no one can take away."
OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy
Pine Valley graduates Allen Gage and Dominique Reed strike a pose for the cameras as classmates look on.
Salutatorian Amber Riggs, who will be heading to Jamestown Community College in the fall for nursing, utilized quotes from Franklin Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr. to give bits of advice to fellow classmates.
"Do what you love, and strive for greatness," Higgs said. "If you never try, then how will you know? If we do not aspire for greatness, then we have not lived at all."
Higgs went on to thank the teachers who inspired her along the way. She also thanked her family and friends for sticking behind her every step of the way.
Valedictorian, and avid outdoorsman, Allen Gage during his speech told the class how amazing and intelligent they all are. He also thanked teachers, family, and his best friends for the continued support. From a quote by Gandhi that he used in his speech, Gage believed that everyone will go far in life. Ending his speech, like an avid outdoorsmen would, he yelled out Turtleman's signature call. The crowd laughed in response. Gage will be attending Jamestown Community College in the fall for environmental science.
Next, "Jeopardy" champ, "Who wants to be a Millionaire" contestant, and alumnus Jared Zollinger took to the stage next as guest speaker. His message to the class revolved around perseverance and persistence. Zollinger took several tests for Jeopardy to be considered. Some of those attempts ending in failure.
He did not give up.
After a few more attempts at the test, he succeeded. The show finally called him, and on his way he went to compete. He became season 20 leader and number eight all-time when his stint on the show ended. It was the persistence he had that led him to success, and he conveyed that to the class.
"In every class, your mission will choose from hanging tough or hanging it up. You will have the tools, support, and persistence," Zollinger stated.
After the handing out of scholarship awards, diplomas were presented to the graduates by Superintendent Peter Morgante and president of the board Janie Waag. Once the alma mater was sung, the graduates walked out of the auditorium, and on to the next stage of their lives.
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