ST. JOHNSVILLE - St. Johnsville Central School District Interim Superintendent Ralph Acquaro talked to 2012 graduates about their aspirations during commencement Sunday.
The 28 graduates celebrated their high school accomplishments as they prepare to move on to college, the military or the work force.
In his speech, Acquaro, whose job with the district ends this month, talked about the aspirations of this class compared to the class of 1964.
St. Johnsville graduate Robert Jaikin embraces a friend after the graduation ceremony.
The Leader-Herald/Marj Kline
He said their goals are similar and that human nature hasn't changed. The circumstances, however, have changed, he said.
"We trust you. We love you. And we wish you guys well," said Acquaro.
Following Salutatorian Ben Bergen's and Valedictorian Emily Chrisman's speeches, the class rolled a 10-minute video, created by Charlie Nugent, showing pictures of all 28 students throughout their lives up to today. The video began with the class's motto, "Dream it. Achieve it. Live it."
After the ceremony, students and families rejoiced with hugs and pictures.
"It's great because now I get to move on to better things." Robert Jaikin said. "My next graduation is going to be [with the] Marines, and we'll see where it goes from there."
Jaikin said joining the Marines is something he has always wanted to do since he was younger, but his elders tried to steer him in other directions. He understands why, but he didn't let their worries stop him.
"I think it was more to scare me out of it because they didn't want to see me join the Marines and taking the chance," he said. "[But] it's just something I really wanted to do. I enjoy it. It makes me happy. I go to drills every weekend, and it's something I really enjoy."
Amber DeGroat had a sense of relief and accomplishment after the ceremony. DeGroat plans to go to Hilbert College in Hamburg to study psychology.
"I don't have to worry about going back. I can go to college and do what I want," she said. "I took psychology last year as an AP class here in distance learning. I really liked it and did well, so I'm [studying] it next year."
And 2012 graduate James Looman, who will be studying criminal justice at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, expressed a feeling of achievement after graduating from St. Johnsville school and moving on.
"It still doesn't feel like it's real," Looman said. "You're growing up with these kids, and suddenly you have to go and be adults now - not go to school every day and see each other. [But I still] know that I've accomplished something."