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Students earn diplomas after completing BOCES summer school program


MASSENA - Sixteen students from three area school districts joined their classmates in the class of 2013 Friday afternoon following the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Regional Summer School commencement ceremony.

The ceremony, which was held in the Massena High School auditorium, honored 14 graduates from Massena, as well as one from Parishville-Hopkinton and one from Potsdam.

Massena High School Principal Patrick Farrand said holding the graduation in the auditorium was a nice touch. In the past the ceremony had been held at the junior high school.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the kids and their families to be recognized for their hard work,” he said. “They deserve the same opportunity to be honored as anyone else.”

With the summer school program being held at the junior high school and the high school auditorium unavailable due to renovations, previous ceremonies had been held in the junior high library.

“This is much nicer,” Mr. Farrand said. “We will do the same thing again in the future, even if it’s for only one student.”

Prior to receiving their diplomas, the graduates also received congratulations and some words of advice from Katherine Lynch, who served as principal for the summer school program.

“You should be so proud and excited for this day. We’re so glad you’re here,” she said. “On one hand, you’ve ended an important chapter in your lives by completing the educational requirements for graduation. You’ve overcome obstacles with purpose and perseverance. On the other hand, you’re beginning a new chapter in your life; a new challenge. This is an opportunity to seek a new path, follow your dreams and set goals.”

Ms. Lynch then compared what lies ahead for students to planting a garden.

“Setting new goals is like starting a garden. You start with a vision. What do you want to accomplish? What are your aspirations? What do you want to cultivate and grow?” she asked. “A tiny seed is planted in your mind and grounded in your heart as you labor each day. Roots silently take shape and buds sprout. Soon, with cultivation, effort and fortitude, blossoms emerge and steady growth ensues.”

She warned the students though that patience is required and success doesn’t happen magically overnight.

“Be patient, but tend to your goal, your dreams, and nurture them to fully thrive and develop,” she said. “You will run into difficulty. Obstacles get in the way of your dreams and goals, but as a former teacher and summer school principal I have witnessed each one of you work through your frustrations, deal with disappointments and ultimately succeed.”

And if your patience starts to wear thin, Ms. Lynch said perseverance is an important thing to have.

“Even when you don’t think they (your dreams and goals) will flourish know this: Rather than allowing your future goals and dreams to wither, I urge you to continue to forage your path. Spend additional time. Persevere. Tend to your heart. Continue to mature and grow and you will garner the fruits of your labor.”

While graduations tend to be emotional, Friday’s ceremony was extra emotional for two graduates, Alisha Bormann and Samantha Bernard.

“My grandmother passed away on Memorial Day, and it would have been awesome if she was here,” Ms. Benard said, adding though that the rest of her family was there for her big day.

“It means a lot to me,” she said, of receiving her high school diploma. “It means I made it further than I ever thought I could.”

Ms. Borman said she told her grandfather two years ago that she would graduatebecoming the first person in her family to do so.

“I’m wicked excited. I’m the first person to graduate in my family,” she noted.

When asked what it meant to keep that promise to her grandfather, who passed away shortly after the promise was made, Ms. Borman said that was a tough question to answer. “There are no words to describe it,” she said.

Her father, George Borman, agreed.

“Words can’t describe what I feel right now,” he said. “Hopefully her brothers and sisters will see her all grown up and beautiful and want to follow in her footsteps,” he said. “I’m very proud.”

Students graduating on Friday included: Parishville-Hopkinton - Katherine Gilbo; Potsdam - Russell Snyder; Massena - Samantha Bernard, Alisha Bormann, Bryan Brothers, Robert Coia, Tahaowerenhawi David, Jeffrey Guyette, Celeste Haverstock, John McGrath, Malajia Parsons, Kiersten Pecore, Cesar Rodriguez, William Seguin, Trevor Swamp and Hayden Tyo.

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