The most frequently repeated two words at the 147th Waterville Central School commencement shows the personality of the Class of 2021.
From Class President Kaitlyn St. Peter’s welcome, through speaker Mike Ryan’s talk, words of thanks rang from everyone who spoke during the ceremony Saturday. The 68 graduates showed that even a pandemic could not shake their gratitude for all they had to celebrate.
Some of that celebration came from what those challenges that St. Peter said forced them to find ways to connect this past year as a class. “As the child of two educators, I thank you,’’ she said to all those gathered to honor the graduates. “We’ll take it from here.’’
A part of those thanks from everyone also came from where the ceremony happened. In about 48 hours, WCS administrators and staff shifted gears - again - to reset the ceremony in the auditorium rather than in the outside circle in front of the school.
That meant wearing masks, but no one seemed to mind as the graduates could experience a WCS graduation the traditional way.
Salutatorian Laney Hinman thanked a long list of people, including coaches, teachers, family members and her parents. She explained why the venue was so important to her classmates.
“Since kindergarten we dreamed of walking across this stage to get our diploma,’’ she said.
Hinman noted that while she was able to play sports, although with restrictions, one more time her senior year, her peers in musical activities missed out. Nor did the seniors get the privilege usually accorded the graduating class of being able to leave the school for lunch.
“Take nothing for granted,’’ Hinman said. “Things change, lives change, that’s Ok.’’
Valedictorian Trevor Salvaggio also listed off numerous thank you. “We made friends and memories,’’ he said.
Student Council President Janelle Cleary thanked the district’s employees who retired this year. Sixth grade teacher Joe Angerosa spent 11 years at WCS, while bus drivers John Sheldrick and Robert Thomas had 36 and 10 years, respectively. Office staff member Deb Gerhardt retires after 34 years and Seena Pughe as an aide after 29 years.
Maureen Gray will retire next week after 22 years with the district, including the last eight as principal at Memorial Park. These seniors were fifth graders when she began her final job with the district…