The 339 members of the Niskayuna High School Class of 2014 were encouraged to
challenge themselves, find balance, and remember that commencement is a
beginning as much as an end on Thursday, June 26 as they took their next step
into the future at Proctor's Theatre.
As is Niskayuna High School tradition, the evening was illuminated by student musical performances, the ceremonial passing of the school flag, the presentation of exchange students, the high school Hall of Fame induction, and the sounds of the Niskayuna High School Symphony Orchestra.
Class President Fallon Jung delivered welcoming remarks woven around the words from a book that many graduates would have first read long ago, Dr. Suess' "Oh, the Places You'll Go." She reminded her classmates of how far they had come together.
"At Niskayuna, no matter how long we've been here for, we've learned and done a lot," Jung said. "We've learned what it's like to be a family â€“ whether we learned that through sports, or clubs we were in. We've learned about tradition. We've learned about respect, and we've learned how to be inquisitive people. We've learned how to make decisions all by ourselves."
Graduation Photo Gallery
In his remarks, High School Principal John Rickert encouraged graduates to be proud of where they are from, and to be relentless in the pursuit of their dreams and excellence. He also reminded them about the importance of finding balance in life.
"To each of you, that means different things," Mr. Rickert said. "I encourage you to strive for as much success as you can. But I also encourage you to take time for those who are important to you. Life goes by very quickly, and while success is important, it is also important to cultivate meaningful relationships with family and loved ones."
Tradition and history were on display throughout the ceremony. The district has been marking its 60th anniversary this year, and the 60th Anniversary historical overview booklet made its debut at graduation, with copies available for each family after the ceremony. (The booklet will be available at schools and community locations in the coming days.) A mosaic of school photos submitted by the community was also displayed prior to commencement exercises.
Each year, graduation includes the Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame induction. This year, AndrÃ© Davis, a member of the Class of 1997, regarded for philanthropic projects and athletic accomplishments was inducted by Board of Education Vice President Debra Gordon. Mr. Davis was the first graduate of Niskayuna High School to play in the National Football League, and he is known for humanitarian work benefitting children in Africa.
Mr. Rickert remarked that the Niskayuna High School graduation is a 'tremendous tradition" that the Class of 2014 is now part of. Class President Fallon Jung noted that no matter where students go, they will always have the common denominator of Niskayuna High School.
But, she encouraged them to get going, because although they had finished high school, they were nowhere near "done."
"'Done isn't something that we're familiar with. We're familiar with doing," she said. "But we're not actually done. When we think about these big milestones in our lives, they are an end of an era to us. And partially, I suppose that's true. But really, it's the beginning of something with about a gagillion possibilities."