Gloversville High School students told to be be ‘extraordinary’ and make a difference
Handing off a Rubik’s cube to Gloversville High School Principal Richard DeMallie to “mix it up” during the 142nd Commencement Exercises on Saturday, Valedictorian Paul-John Clet described the puzzle as a metaphor for high school that is solved through a four-stage algorithm.
“Each step corresponds to a year spent in this building,” Clet said retrieving the puzzle from the principal as he addressed the graduating class of 173 students.
“Freshman year we are all confused about where we are. Like the Rubik’s cube, we look discombobulated. We are surely never going to make it,” Clet said working on the puzzle as he spoke. “Sophomore year we learn our way around. Things seem more fluid, however we still are an underclassman.”
Advancing towards the solution to the Rubik’s cube, Clet described junior year of high school where students begin to understand how the world works.
“We are encumbered with more school work, college preparation, and maybe even a significant other. This is indeed the hardest year of high school. Our Rubik’s cube requires more attention and more articulate algorithms,” Clet said. “We take responsibility as young adults because we know that the real world is not going to just give us what we want. We learn to work for it and we solve even more of our Rubik’s cube.”
Finally reaching senior year, students solve the puzzle, a feat Clet accomplished with his Rubik’s cube, but he noted that once solved, the puzzles all look alike when the graduating students should now be striving to achieve their own remarkable accomplishments with the knowledge they attained while solving the puzzle.
“We have all solved our Rubik’s cube, but putting a bunch of solved cubes together makes each one indistinguishable. That’s why I ask you to be extraordinary. Be different in a world seemingly forcing you to be the same. Give back to your community, achieve your goals or even solve more Rubik’s cubes. I’m not asking you to learn to solve this with your feet, I’m just asking you to be different,” Clet said. “Leave your mark.”
While Clet encouraged the graduating students to move on from their days of “twisting and turning” to find the answers in life, DeMallie urged the class to begin focusing on their interests to achieve their dreams, much as they would dial in a microscope.
“Continue to forge forward even when things are pushing you backward and there may be no end in sight. I ask that you fulfill your destiny, because we all know you will be great,” DeMallie said acknowledging the crowd of family, friends, faculty and staff in attendance.
“But it will take more than me and this entire gymnasium of people to believe you be great in order for it to happen,” he said. “You have to believe that you will be great and I ask you to do this by dialing it in, finding that passion and staying positive.”
The teacher who taught the students how to focus their microscopes and about positivity as it relates to the particles in an atom and in life, science teacher Jennifer Hazzard, gave the students one final lesson before they received their diplomas.
“Don’t be afraid to not fit into a box and don’t dull parts of yourself for other,” Hazzard said. “There are always going to be people who will think you are too much. Too intense, too into your job or hobby, too nice, too silly, too extra, too whatever. Just be yourself, whatever that may look like.”
“I am so proud of you,” she added. “I am going to miss you guys. Please keep in touch. Good luck with all you do and congratulations.”
Once each student crossed the stage to receive their diplomas, officially ending their high school careers, Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent David Halloran offered the new graduates a few final words of congratulations and one final reminder about the value of learning.
“Congratulations on achieving this milestone in your educational journey. Learning doesn’t end here. That’s why this ceremony is called a ‘commencement,’ because it’s just the beginning,” Halloran said. “You are prepared to commence your journey as an adult. Whatever the next chapter is; whatever direction you choose to go, be resolute and unswerving in your determination to reach your destination.”
“Make learning a priority in your daily life. Be curious and receptive to new ideas and knowledge, not just in your youth, but even as you age. Be a student of life until your last breath,” Halloran said. “Graduates of 2019; have pride in who you are, be proud of where you’re from and go make a difference in the world.”