WYALUSING - "You Raise Me Up" was the name of one of the songs in the choral presentation at the Wyalusing Valley High School Commencement Tuesday.

The class valedictorian, meanwhile, acknowledged those who did just that for the seniors - raise them up.

It was a time to say thank you to mom and dad.

"I don't know where I would be without my own mom and dad," said Tracey LaFrance in his speech to his classmates, saying their parents were "awesome."

Of his own parents, he said, "Their support and love has carried me through all of these years of high school; through the times I succeeded and felt invincible, to the times when it didn't feel like there was point to keep trying. They truly have been my greatest inspiration to dream and achieve."

"I always find it so funny when I look at the younger students and see how intelligent and worldly they think they are, and how they laugh at their parents' rules and worries. Then, I realize that was us in junior high. It's amazing how smart my parents have become over the years."

He told them that "your parents know what they're talking about. Not to make any age jokes, but they've been around longer than you have."

He said their parents have their children's best interests at heart, and asked his classmates to think back on the times they felt truly lucky to have them.

"Maybe it was the time they dropped everything to help you when you're in a jam, or getting out of work early to come to your sporting event or music concert."

Salutatorian Logan Hitchcock also was giving out thanks.

"Family, friends, teachers and staff, without your hard work and support, we could not be sharing this moment tonight."

And he looked to the future with a metaphor that a bibliophile would appreciate.

"We may have finished a lengthy chapter of our lives, but there is still plenty of book left to write."

For the class of 77 seniors, however, it was also time to remember a classmate who passed away - Eric Latini, 17, who died in a motorcycle accident May 29.

The graduation program had a message "in loving memory of Eric Anthony Latini from the Class of 2012."

And that wasn't the only way he was remembered. His photograph, yellow roses, and cap and gown was placed on his chair where he would have sat, and it was noted in the invocation that the class was grieving his loss. A moment of silence was observed and his diploma was presented first.

There was a standing ovation in his honor. Taylor Newton, class vice-president, provided the welcome and Aaron Johnson, class president, gave the farewell.

In addition to individual student honors, the high school was able to boast about a feather in its cap - namely that of U.S. News & World

Report naming Wyalusing Valley Jr./Sr. High School "One of America's Best High Schools for 2012."