The Saugerties High School Class of 2019, consisting of 215 seniors, graduated during the school’s 123rd commencement exercises on the morning of Saturday, June 29.
A full audience of family and friends came to celebrate the students as they collected their diplomas before heading off toward futures that include enrollment at top colleges, military service, and the launching of careers.
Valedictorian Emily Christiansen, who will head to Cornell University later this year, recalled for her classmates life lessons they learned during their time together — how to make friends, how to work together, “but, most vital, we learned about ourselves.”
Salutatorian Hilary Mulford, also bound for Cornell, took a humorous approach to her address, invoking the help of accordion-playing classmate Adam Hendricks to accompany her as she presented her own take on fellow Saugerties High School alumnus Jimmy Fallon’s “Thank You Notes” segment from The Tonight Show.
“Thank you, Mrs. Cacchillo, for teaching us math. All the math,” Mumford said to knowing laughter from the graduates. “And for frequently reminding us that back in the day, you didn’t use a calculator for anything — even trig!”
In addition to the top two academic performers in the class, the audience heard from all of the class officers as well as senior district administrators and school board representatives.
Of the 215 graduates, 58 received a gold cord, indicating final grade of 90 or above. Another 47 received silver cords, indicating a final grade of 85 or above. And another 69 students were Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center graduates. Members of the senior class also received 96 different scholarships, many of which were awarded to several students, with many students winning multiple awards.
In closing out Saturday’s ceremony, the band and choir performed a verse of the school’s Alma Mater: “Deep in the valley of the Hudson,” they sang, “there nestles ‘neath the Catskills high; a school which we so dearly cherish, whose fame and glory ne’er shall die. Here friendships blossom day by day, with laugh and song and students gay; we love thee dear old Alma Mater, hail, hail to Saugerties.” Then Principal Thomas J. Averill instructed them to move their tassels, presented the graduates of the Class of 2019, and a burst of decorated mortar boards filled the air.
Thanks to BOCES for this report