Grads reflect while taking step towards their future
TIOGA CENTER, N.Y. -
As Tioga handed out diplomas to 78 graduates on Saturday morning there was talk of the past. There was talk of the future. But, more than anything there was talk about how much the graduates have learned the past four years.
"I am so proud to have known all of you, and I am pretty proud of us," valedictorian Katherine Shuler said during her speech.
Salutatorian Emily Schweiger told a story from when she was 12-years-old and she found out first hand how much the Tioga community cared when her family barn caught on fire.
She also talked about how that same community came out to support those impacted by the floods.
"So many people were affected by the flood and so many people came out to help," she said. "No matter where we go in the future, we will always remember the caring community we come from."
Tioga Superintendent Scot Taylor knows that these graduates have done a lot already, but he expects even more from the group in the future.
"These accomplishments are just the beginning for you," he said.
Both Shuler and Schweiger talked about the impact that their classmates have had on them over the years.
"These people are my best friendships," Shuler said as she looked over toward the other graduates. "They are my greatest accomplishments, my worst mistakes and everything in between."
Shuler also had advice for the younger classes at Tioga.
"The next year, two years, three years, they will pass," she said. Then, smiling, she joked. "I was going to tell you to work hard. But, I worked hard for four years and they made me give a speech"
Schweiger knows that both the community, and the other members of the graduating class, have had a big role in shaping who they are.
"Tioga has affected us and we, the class of 2013, have affected each other," she said.
Schweiger said that every student has learned a lot of silly little things during their times in school, like 'food is the key to every teachers' heart,' and she said it's those silly little things that will benefit them in the future."
Shuler quoted the words of Abraham Lincoln to talk about the future for the graduates.
"Whatever you are, be a good one," she quoted.
Shuler then talked about what the quote meant to her and how it is important advice for the future.
"No matter what you end up doing, challenge yourself to be good at it," she said.
During the presentation of the diplomas Savannah Floyd received the kind of surprise you see in movies.
As Floyd stood, next to her parents, ready to receive her diploma, her brother Kodi, a Marine, came up behind her to surprise her by returning home for the event, leaving Floyd with a huge smile as she exchanged hugs with her brother.
After the diplomas were given out Callie Patsellis was honored as this year's Senior of the Year, receiving the award from last year's winner, Madeline Kuhlman.