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Graduates hear inspirational messages

TRI-COUNTY AREA--Seniors from Dundee, Penn Yan and Hammondsport officially became graduates of their respective schools at ceremonies held Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28 last week.
Dundee Central School celebrated its 80th commencement ceremony Thursday. Class valedictorian Megan Sutherland and salutatorian Sarah Boudinot both gave speeches on the front lawn of the school.
Sutherland said, "Graduation isn't the end, it is really the start of something new." She quoted C.S. Lewis saying "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." She added, "We have been given the opportunity to use what we've learned at Dundee to chase our dreams."
Salutatorian Boudinot gave a list of items she learned while at Dundee. "1. Forgive your enemies, don't get stuck holding grudges; 2. Be kind; 3. Do what you want to do; 4. Choose your associations carefully; 5. Don't allow labels to have an effect on your life; 6. Feel everything; 7. Don't worry; 8. Don't be mainstream; 9. Make time for yourself; 10. Take care of your surroundings."
Dundee Superintendent Kelly Houck said the Class of 2019 performed nearly 1,800 hours of community service.
Penn Yan's Friday evening ceremony was the first event on the new turf sports field at the school. Class officers Cally Lloyd, Alexandra Cox, Brady Logan and Noah Detar spoke during the 161st commencement ceremony.
Co-Presidents Cally Lloyd and Alexandra Cox gave a combined speech with the theme "let your dreams set sail." Lloyd said, "One thing that hasn't changed since the first time we walked through the elementary school doors was our ability to dream. Whether you started out wanting to become a princess living in a castle, have 50 dogs when you grew older or even become a superhero, dreaming was always there to give you a goal and push you forward." Cox added, "letting your dream set sail is easier said than done. Some days, like on the lake, you may have smooth sailing, other days you're facing choppy water, but you must always keep in mind it is all part of the journey and to take the time to enjoy what is in front of you."
Class Secretary Brady Logan described the difficulty in answering the question "are you happy graduation is here?" and urged her fellow graduates to keep their minds open to change and new adventures.
Noah Detar spoke about how enduring on long bike rides can be translated into the journey of life. Shifting gears, realizing the challenge and not looking too far ahead as to psych yourself out are lessons he cited.
The guest speaker at Penn Yan was teacher Donald Rossi.
Hammondsport also held their graduation ceremony outside in front of the school. This year the valedictorian was Matthew Cole and the salutatorian was Travis Raab. There were 27 graduates.
The Class of 2019 became official graduates of Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour in ceremonies held over the last two weeks.
Watkins Glen celebrated commencement in the school auditorium, Saturday, June 22. Valedictorian Joseph Chedzoy, Salutatorian Kathleen Clifford and Kai Sutterby delivered speeches at the ceremony, which also included a number of monetary prizes being awarded to the graduates.
Chedzoy spoke about triumphs of actor and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, "His rise to success must seem like pure luck and coincidence, but when you look at the story it is clear why he was successful...he reached his dreams by challenging himself." Chedzoy urged the class to ask themselves what can they do to make themselves better and to "see opportunity in every difficulty."
Clifford gave thanks to all the people who helped the students reach graduation, including parents, teachers, the staff at the school and friends. "Today we stand together all accomplishing the same goal," said Clifford. "I wouldn't want to experience this with anyone else," before quoting Dr. Seuss: "Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, go, get on your way!"
Kai Sutterby recalled the class's journey in the senior oration. "After all these moments, all these years, we finally made it to these seats, this stage and this day. We could have not done it without each other...we are not only graduating together but we grew up together. Whether you like it or not, you can't choose your family and this class is another family...we support each other when it matters most."
Eighty-five graduated from Watkins Glen.
The Fetter-Brown Auditorium hosted the Odessa-Montour celebration Friday, June 28.
Class Valedictorian Kennedey Heichel told the Class of 2019, "Dedication is a trait that I have become very familiar with, specifically in my high school career, and I have seen it in my classmates as well. By exhibiting this trait, you are putting your goals and desires above all else, focusing on your priorities in order to obtain them. It is not just the desire to be successful that makes dedication the key to success; it is the hard work that needs to be put in and the willingness to do so, it is the eagerness required day in and day out, and it is the challenges--that may create setbacks--but will ultimately lead to a more successful version of yourself after conquering them. Whatever your goals may be, dedication is the lifeline to achieving them."
The class salutatorian was Noah Brewster and a number of students were presented scholarships and special awards.

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