MADRID - In front of friends, family, faculty, administrators and staff Friday, 56 Madrid-Waddington Central School graduates turned the page to a new chapter in their lives.
I am very proud to say, although I may be preaching to the choir here, for as Ive gotten to know students of the Class of 2013, I have seen their genuine caring and empathy for others, Superintendent Lynn M. Roy said, looking out over the graduates. I know our future and our community is in good hands.
As a way of honoring the past, the graduates began by dedicating the ceremony to a classmate who could not be there: Matthew N. Caldwell.
Matthew, who was described by classmates as the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back, was killed by a drunk driver while he was riding his snowmobile in 2008.
At the ceremony, a 2013 yearbook dedicated to Matthew was given to his parents, Robert J. and Susan Caldwell.
He is always with us. He is even a part of the choices we make, classmate James P. Miller said. He reminds us just how short life can be and to live every day to the fullest.
In keeping with that theme, salutatorian Jennifer E. Ryan encouraged her classmates to focus on making their lives better, not on pleasing others.
Dont feel pressure to make others happy, make yourself happy instead and treat others kindly, Ms. Ryan said. Dont feel pressure to change the world, change yourself instead, seek out your passions and the rest will come for you.
And co-valedictorian Kathleen E. Tiernan shared her one wish for her classmates.
So what is it that I wish for my peers? Fortune and fame? No, thats not it. Big houses and fancy cars? Nope. Billboard and record deals? No, not those either. How about one simple thing: happiness. I wish you all happy lives.
In the spirit of living life to the fullest, co-valedictorian Austin Scott encouraged his classmates to seize every opportunity.
I guarantee that everybody on this stage will have opportunities they never dreamed about. Take those opportunities, he said.
Of the 56 diplomas awarded at Fridays ceremony, four were Advanced Regents diplomas with Honors, 13 were Advanced Regents Diplomas and 34 were Regents Diplomas.