Photos by Ali Zacker Gale and Ulster BOCES
With diplomas in hand and tassels flipped, the Class of 2014 graduated from Saugerties High School on Saturday morning, officially becoming what Superintendent Seth Turner called “next in line to bring pride to our community.”
Sitting before a large gathering of family members that Board of Education Trustee Robert Thomann described as a “sea of love,” the 220-member class heard from its four officers, who reminded them of the many happy moments they’ve shared and offered words of inspiration for the future.
“As a class, we have carried each other to the top of the mountain,” said class president Hunter Igoe.
Class treasurer Jessa Chargois said, “There are 25,142,400 seconds in our high school careers. That’s 25,142,400 chances to influence, achieve, learn, grow, and strive for greatness.”
Superintendent Turner, who served as principal to about one-third of the graduates during their early school years at Morse Elementary School, reminded them that they come from a community with many proud distinctions, including a Congressional Medal of Honor winner and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“You’ll go on to do incredible things as well,” Turner said.
SHS Principal Tom Averill shared words from the Optimist’s Creed, which he reads each morning when he arrives at the high school for work: “Be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.”
Eighty percent of the Class of 2014 will attend either a two- or four-year college and the graduates have received a total of more than $80,000 in local scholarships.
Before receiving their diplomas and tossing their vibrantly decorated hats in the air, the class got an appropriate send-off from Valedictorian Shannon Averill. Averill, who excelled in running at SHS, said the sport taught her a lot about how to grow by competing against oneself, both in sports and in life.
“There’s no telling how many miles we’ll go,” Averill told her classmates. “Embrace the moment and the challenges that lie ahead. Class of 2014, on your mark, get set, go!”