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Johnsburg graduation
Omar Ricardo Aquije - Samantha Burns, front, puts a flower on the gown of Cory Gazaille with the help of her sister, Emily Burns, center, prior to Saturday's 2010 graduation at the Johnsburg Central School District.

JOHNSBURG -- Emily and Samantha Burns grew up in Johnsburg, went to school there, and have always been together.

But the sisters, who are twins, are gearing up for a drastic change in life. Emily is going to school in France for a year, while Samantha is headed for Belgium to do the same. Both will attend a public school, before returning to the U.S. to begin college.

Prior to Saturday afternoon's 2010 commencement at Johnsburg Central School, the sisters said they were both scared about the move. But the opportunity to visit Europe was one they could not pass up.

"It's such a huge opportunity," said Emily. "I don't know if I could say no. It will give me many advantages. I could be fluent in another language."

"I feel like you are not really guaranteed anything," Samantha said. "I'm not going to just sit around. I'm not going to let it pass by."

This year's graduating class was different from others in some ways. It has three students who will study in Europe - Holly Osowiecki, who is going to France, is the third. This class is also predominately female. Of the 24 graduates, only seven were male.

Kelsey Williford was the valedictorian and Kelly Blackhurst was the salutatorian. Both students were speakers at the event.

The guest speaker was Andre Poulin, a 1974 Johnsburg graduate who is a former producer of NBC's "Today" show and is now an independent network producer.

The ceremony included musical performances put on by seniors. The audience also watched a slide show presentation made of photos of each graduate. The photos showed the students at different ages in their lives.

Superintendent Michael Markwica and Principal Nadeen Kearney gave out the awards. Members of the school board gave out the diplomas.

Cory Gazaille, the class president, said before the ceremony that the feeling of graduating had yet to sink in entirely. But he knew it was going to happen.

"I'm feeling a little nervous just to go out there. I'm excited," he said. "It's one of the most important days of my life."


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