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Stissing Mountain seniors look to the future


PINE PLAINS — More than 900 parents, fellow students, friends and family watched Saturday morning as the 96 students of the class of 2008 walked down the aisle, graduating from Stissing Mountain High School and into the real world.

It was an emotional day for everyone, including graduate Betsy Boyles, who plans to attend Columbia Greene Community College in the fall.

"I am very excited," Boyles said. "I feel great and I am so happy to be graduating."

Casey Miller, who also will attend Columbia Greene, said he learned a lot from his time at the high school.

"I learned the ways to be at our best and be ourselves," Miller said. "And also to have fun with it at the same time."

Anthony Zeno, who plans on attending Ulster County BOCES in the fall, said he was excited.

"I’m feeling very good right now and looking forward to my future," Zeno said. "I learned a lot of things from this high school, both educational and non-educational. I learned a lot of things that will help me with my future."

Board of Education President Helene McQuade was the first person who spoke at the ceremony.

"Today marks one of many important milestones in your lives," McQuade said. "This milestone is particularly meaningful because it not only represents the coming of age but also your years of hard work and your accomplishments. We have watched as you have all grown into remarkable young women and men."

McQuade said that, instead of a listing of future plans of each senior being posted outside of the guidance office, each senior wrote their future plan on paper balloons which were posted on senior’s lockers.

"Each time I passed those balloons they gained added significance," McQuade said. "The image of them as they appeared to float away seemed to represent that new independence that comes after graduation. Off to college, or off to work, off to begin their adult lives."

Jacqueline Inserillo, who plans on going to SUNY Geneseo, said in her senior essay that time has gone fast for the senior class.

"I know [in September] some of us will be in college yelling class of 2012 at the top of their lungs, while others will be in the work force yelling for a raise," Inserillo said. "Either way, I know what an impact high school has had on all of us. Hopefully we will be listening to what our teachers have advised us, what our parents have told us and what we as a class have learned from each other. Our perspective on life and temperament are just some of the things that we have learned from high school."

Salutatorian Eve Deveau, who has been accepted to George Washington University, emphasized the bond the class of 2008 had with each other in her speech.

"I don’t know what it was, but from the moment this class came together, it was as if we had a special bond," Deveau said. "As we have grown up, we have all gotten much more unique. But that has made us learn so much from each other. We stuck it together through, from increasing test standards, to increasing lunch prices. To broken hearts and broken bones. The challenges that we have faced have only made us stronger. This is why we are here together today."

Valedictorian Timothy Reynolds, who plans on going to Ithaca College in the fall, credited district teachers and parents to the success of the class.

"Without you, none of us would have reached this milestone today," Reynolds said. "Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed. Especially since I used to spell the sentence, ‘I saw duck,’ with randomly placed z’s, x’s and q’s. Thankfully, I have come a long way. You have been so much more than teachers, you have serves as coaches, mentors, councilors and even our friends. Your impact on our lives will not be forgotten."

By noon, with a turn of a tassel from right to left and with the playing of "Pomp and Circumstance" by the Central School Band, the 96 graduates walked off the stage, with diplomas in hand and off towards their respective futures.

In the program for Saturday's graduation is the motto for the class, which is a quote from inventor Charles Kettering: "Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future."

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