Hats Off

Clymer Central School Celebrates 90th Annual Commencement Ceremony

The 2017 Clymer Central School graduating class turns its tassels following the awarding of diplomas. P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb

CLYMER — Thirty-four bright, ambitious and now graduated young adults celebrated the culmination of their academic endeavors on Thursday night in Clymer Central School’s gymnasium.

Clymer Central School’s class of 2017 graduation ceremony saw no seat unclaimed and left plenty of proud friends and family of the graduating class happy to occupy the standing room around the perimeter of the gym.

Class valedictorian Emma Rachel Wade and Salutatorian Ashley-Lynn Beckwith both presented the audience with charming addresses, entitled “The Tassel Was Worth The Hassle,” and “The Value Of A Moment,” respectively. Wade graduated with a GPA of 102.36, while Beckwith earned a 102.14.

“They say that senior year goes by so fast,” Wade said, “but I disagree. But that’s not to say that we didn’t have fun. We all had a good time, but none of us slacked off, either — at least not until fourth quarter. But that just goes to prove — and if you know anything about this class you already know — that we’re all very intelligent, and we’re all very competitive. … We all worry about being smart enough, but that has no correlation to where we grew up, because even people from small towns can dream big. It’s all about how hard you work for (your goals).”

In Beckwith’s salutatorian address, she recalled moving from Hamilton, Ontario to Clymer in sixth grade and how nervous she was about the change of location. She said all those fears faded as her new classmates welcomed her with open arms.

“I’m still so grateful for the friends that became family,” Beckwith said. “As well as the sports teams and organizations that I became a part of. But more importantly, I have never been more thankful than I am right now for all the memories that we have made as a class. Tonight is a once-in-a-lifetime night. Never again will we get to be in this exact moment, sitting on this stage in front of all these people. So I invite you all to make the best of it.”

Throughout the ceremony, the Clymer Central School jazz band provided musical accompaniment, opening with the traditional playing of “Pomp and Circumstance.” An interlude of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” was performed, and the ceremony was closed out with “Gonna Fly Now,” better known as the theme song from Rocky.

A special touch to the ceremony, which Superintendent Bert Lictus acknowledged could only happen during the ceremony for such a small school, was that each graduate was read a congratulatory statement written by their former teachers.

“My memories of Emily can best be described as little pockets of emotion,” read the statement for graduate Emily Jean Boozel. “A comforting hug in the hallway, laughing in my office at how silly life is, celebrating the excitement of a new relationship, and too many smiles to count — Emily, your main goal in life is to help people. This is not surprising to me as you are one of the most selfless, empathetic and caring people that I know. My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to.”

The ceremony concluded with a benediction from Rev. Erin Beckerink, and graduates exited the stage two-by-two, embracing arms as they exited the stage.