HUDSON FALLS -- "We have not yet disturbed the universe - we have, at most, disturbed our parents."
That was Salutatorian Brady Pelkey at Saturday's graduation at Hudson Falls High School, where, in a humor-tinged speech, he prodded his classmates, to, in the words of poet T.S. Eliot, "disturb the universe."
High School Principal C. J. Hebert said afterwards that the 149 students in the Class of 2010 were "outstanding scholars, athletes and musicians."
Dressed in green robes (the young men) and white (the women), they waited patiently through the speeches and awards.
Grinning broadly, Valedictorian Matthew Gaulin also followed a humorous theme: "When I found out in late February that I was valedictorian, and grades had stopped determining our rank, I'm not going to lie - I slacked off. Senioritis for some of us set in, but we had a great time these last few months."
He went on to laud parents, friends and his teachers, singling out Brianna Palmer, a Spanish teacher, and Diane Havern, the choral director of the high school.
Gaulin intends to go on to the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam in the fall, where he plans a double major in music education, with the aim of being a music teacher, and Spanish.
Gaulin also thanked history teacher Matthew Rozell, whom, he said "is one of the most brilliant men that I know," who staged a number of Holocaust reunions, pairing victims with rescuers in Hudson Falls, putting, he said, Hudson Falls on the map "as a place where history comes alive."
For his efforts, Rozell was named Teacher of the Year, and ABC's "Person of the Week," last fall.
But this was, after all, a day to celebrate the young men and women who were closing one chapter of their lives and opening another.
As evidenced by the hugs and tears shed following the ceremony, it was a bittersweet moment for many.
But, as attested to by the green and white hats and balloons that sailed through the air after the awarding of the diplomas, it was also a morning of unfettered joy.