Friendship, Happiness Forged At CVCS
By Anthony Dolce
SINCLAIRVILLE — The final bell rang for the 58 members of the 2019 graduating class of Cassadaga Valley Friday night, in their Graduation Ceremony taking place in the auditorium of Cassadaga Valley High School, in front of a full house of family, friends, and school board members.
Following the opening remarks and traditional playing of Pomp and Circumstance, Anna Wenger, the class Salutatorian addressed the crowd. The theme of her speech was friendships, specifically the friendships forged along the way at CVCS for the class of 2019. Wenger recalled a specific moment, Spirit Week of their junior year, where an intense game of musical chairs brought the class of 2019 closer together.
“It was then that the class really came together as one. Of course, we were all acquaintances or friends before, but after that day, we became a class,” said Wenger.
Wenger went on to talk about how the class was influenced by their teachers, faculty, and each other, and that the most important take away from CVCS was learning the value of hard work.
Following Wenger was the guest speaker of the evening, Dr. Daniel Edson, who was the CVCS Valedictorian from the class of 1994. Edson, who now lives near Columbus, Ohio, as a lead science researcher, imposed the wisdom of doing your best to be happy on the 2019 CVCS class.
Edson tried to make his audience understand that happiness with yourself is the real key to life, and that it’s important to be comfortable in your own skin. The biggest takeaway of his speech was happiness, how to avoid the inverses of happiness, and that money does not necessarily mean happiness. The inverses of happiness, as Edson said, include jealousy and or envy, which led to his point of finances. Although money can help, it does not solve everyone’s problems, and can actually lead to more problems. Edson noted that a majority of lottery winners end up failing within ten years, because money cannot solve everyone’s problems.
Edson then went on to talk about the other inverse of happiness, which is entitlement.
“As you begin your adult lives, you are not expected to have all of the things that your parents have obtained over a life time, while you are just starting out. Just because you were the fastest, smartest, or most artistic yesterday, tomorrow you will need to work smarter, harder, and more creatively,” Edson said.
Following Edson’s closing remarks, Valedictorian Jordan Polley took the podium to deliver the final speech of the evening. Polley’s message was that being afraid is normal, pointing out that she herself was terrified of the future and all of the responsibilities to come. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t ready for it, and that you can’t blossom in these new opportunities.
“This is the first day of the rest of our lives. We get to go out into the world, whether we feel ready or not, and we get to grow,” Polley said.
Polley recognized that with the fear, comes excitement. She looks at herself, and the rest of her class, and sees nothing but endless potential to accomplish great things, no matter where her or her classmates end up.
Once Polley was finished, the diplomas were handed out to the class, who then departed the stage to a tribute video to the 2018-19 school year, detailing all the fun, quirky memories the CVCS class of 2019 made. They went outside, threw their caps in the air, showing their newfound freedom to go where life takes them.