GLENS FALLS — The advice to the Queensbury High School Class of 2019 was about building relationships and serving others.
Superintendent of Schools Douglas Huntley shared a story about a recent biking trip where he experienced a flat tire. A man named Kevin who accompanied him on the ride, who he just met, gave him his spare tire and put it on his bike.
When Huntley offered to pay him back, he declined. Kevin said a similar incident happened to him and a good Samaritan gave him a spare.
Huntley encouraged others to pay it forward.
“You have not lived a day until you have done something for someone who can never pay you back,” he said to the 258 graduates in a ceremony on Friday at Cool Insuring Arena.
Helping others was also the theme in the speech by former math teacher Stephanie Knoop, the former adviser to the Class of 2019, who moved to the Syracuse area after the students’ junior year, but was invited back to address the graduates.
Knoop said it may be a cliché, but she encouraged the students to be kind.
“I think one of the most important things we can do with our lives is to serve others. I’m filled with gratitude when I serve others,” she said.
Class of 2019 President Tiffany Hotte announced that the class gift is a new water fountain, which is more environmentally friendly, as part of the district’s Legacy 2020 capital project.
Principal Damian Switzer thanked the students for being flexible and putting up with the high school in various states of construction. The flexibility they exhibited will help them in their life.
Switzer cited some examples of famous people, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and singer-songwriter John Legend, who have cited a teacher who helped give them the confidence to pursue their goals.
“Relationships matter, so how will you impact others? By partnering with people, you could be that one person who makes a difference,” he said.
Student speaker Erik Swanson encouraged the students to keep challenging traditional assumptions.
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“The moment you think you have it all figured out is the moment that everything is rearranged and you have to figure it out again,” he said.
Student speaker Julia Merzig said that June 28 represents the closing of these students’ academic journey, which began on Sept. 7, 2006, when this class entered kindergarten. This class created memories that will last a lifetime and it is now time to begin a new chapter.
Students were eager to begin that next chapter and have big goals. Delaney Camp plans to study environmental science at Cazenovia College.
“I’m going to try to bio-engineer a new organism to get rid of plastic,” she said.
Kim Bacon was going to serve others by getting a nursing degree. She said a lot of her family is in the profession. She said she was motivated to get through high school so “I can have the future I want.”
Parents were also eager to show their support.
Jolene Schaffer and some friends had cardboard cutouts of her daughter, Ashley Holmes, to hold up.
“I wanted her to be able to be able to find me afterward,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer said she felt overwhelmed but is excited that her daughter is graduating.
Lucas Crane’s advice to freshmen coming up is to “cherish the memories.”
“They’ll go fast,” he said.