WELLS - Wells Central School District said farewell to 16 graduating seniors and one beloved office secretary Friday night at the 2013 Wells graduation ceremony.
Deborah Taylor, who gave the commencement address, worked as the school district's secretary long enough to watch all of the graduating seniors finally get their diplomas. This month she will retire.
"It's been an honor and gift to work here and watch you grow, and now we'll move on together to the next chapter," she said.
Ricky Vincent Maloney walks across the stage to accept his diploma at the Wells Central School 2013 graduation ceremony Friday at the school.
The Leader-Herald/Marj Kline
Taylor drew on the fact the students were very close to each other, and were rarely seen alone in the school's hallways.
"I rarely saw you guys walk alone in the halls, you're always in groups together," she said to the students. "I always saw you lend a friendly hand to whoever needed it."
The district's Salutatorian, James Hoffman, who will attend Fulton-Montgomery Community College in the fall for criminal justice, stressed the importance of sincerity in relation to success to his graduating classmates.
"As you go on with your lives, and pursue your careers, I challenge you to be sincere with everything you do," he said. "Use your sincerity to be successful and leave a lasting impression."
Valedictorian Brittany Woodward, who will be attending State University of New York at New Paltz for art, thanked everyone in her life including her teachers, coaches, friends, boyfriend and parents for helping her achieve her goals. She said they supported her through all of her activities and gave her such a "fun high school experience."
Woodward advised her classmates to appreciate their family and friends because they are the people who will continue to help them achieve their dreams. She also encouraged her classmates to go after all of their dreams.
"I would like to tell you to appreciate your friends and family. They are the people who will help you to achieve your goals. They will be your support as you find your place in the world and go after your dreams," she said. "And make sure you go after your dreams, as crazy as they may be."
Superintendent Thomas Sincavage faced the small sea of red and white caps on stage and told students that graduation isn't the end, it's the beginning. He urged them to continue to grow and learn from their mistakes.
Lastly, Sincavage told students they were in a great position because they all received high school educations.
"This is a major accomplishment," he said. "An education cannot be taken away from you."