Thirty seniors at Laurens Central School received their diplomas at Friday night’s graduation ceremony.
In his valedictory address, Ryan Crean, remarked on the bond that some of his class’ experiences have created among its members, including a Caribbean cruise that had a stop at a local orphanage.
Graduation is “a small stepping stone” filled with great significance, he said. “Begin a new life, and take responsibility.”
However, he noted, the lessons students learned at Laurens, including helping others, will be important as they do.
“I think each of us have the skills to persevere and have a positive impact on the world,” he said. He noted three students, Ryan Holmes, Gerard Murello, and Kyle O’Dell, who will be taking such action immediately by serving in the military, which brought a standing ovation.
As the students celebrate their past and look to the future, he noted that staff members, parents and many others in the room deserved some thanks, because while students had to make the effort, they also had a lot of support. One of those noted by Crean and several others during the night was band director Daniel Martin, who is retiring after a 25-year career.
The commencement address was given by Dr. James Hayward, a scientist and president of technology company Applied DNA Services, who Murello’s uncle. He said that graduation is not only about individual success but about the community.
Now that graduates have completed their high school education, the challenge will be learning throughout life, Hayward said.
“Think beyond the conventional paradigm,” he said. As they did he urged students to “celebrate the diversity” they found in their classmates through the rest of their life.
As a biochemist, most of what he has learned through life has come from family and friends, he said.
“The best way to make a life,” he said, “is to follow your passions.”