MAYFIELD - High school graduation is a ritual that almost every American goes through in life.
While it is easier to lose direction being one of thousands of high school students in a big-city public high school, for many towns and villages, there is a common theme of close mentoring and appreciation among the students and faculty.
Mayfield's 86 graduates of 2012 expressed exactly that Saturday morning.
Mayfield Central School Valedictorian Matthew Montgomery speaks at graduation Saturday.
(The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini)
"[I'll remember] going to school every day and having fun. I wouldn't spend it any other way," Trevor Glenn said. "All my teachers and all my friends have always been completely, 100 percent supportive of everybody in the class. It's just one small loving family of a community. Everyone's here to help each other out."
Salutatorian John Donnan said he has been waiting for this day for a long time but is grateful for all the help the staff has given him throughout his high school education.
"They're amazing. They're good at getting us through," Donnan said. "It's a great school. I'm ready to be out. The teachers are loving, and they love what they do."
Allison Brancato was taken aback by the weight of the moment and said the idea of it being graduation day was unreal. It wasn't until she saw all her classmates that the reality set in.
Although she will be staying close and beginning her college education at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Brancato echoed many of the students' sentiments, crediting her friends and the faculty for her fondest memories from her time at Mayfield High.
"It was more mental preparation than anything," she said. "They drove me and pushed me. They told me I could do anything that I wanted to do. Not [everybody] gets a lot of support from the ones around them, and I'm very thankful that I had that."
During his speech, Valedictorian Matthew Montgomery told his classmates that Saturday was about celebrating the accomplishments they have all made, and there are many more yet to experience.