Graduation Still A Special Day For Clymer Seniors
CLYMER — Like so many of their peers around the county, the Clymer Central School Class of 2020 ended the year with a different commencement ceremony than the one they had expected.
COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing requirements forced the cancellation of traditional ceremonies, forcing school administrators and students to come up with new ways to make graduation a memorable experience.
For Clymer, that meant moving graduation to Peek’n Peak Resort on June 26, where seniors were photographed on scenic chairlift rides.
“They want their time in the sun, they want to celebrate together, they don’t want another milestone striped away from them because of this ‘unprecedented situation,'” said Clymer Principal Brianne Fadale. “We wanted to make sure our students had something special. So plans began. It took several months to plan, but it all started with the question: what if we could have our seniors ride a chairlift to graduate?”
That plan came to fruition for 28 members of the 2020 class, who were permitted to three guests for the graduation ceremony, which was led by guest speaker State Sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay.
In her speech, valedictorian Natalie Carris reminded classmates of the many highlights from their final year at Clymer, and encouraged optimism during difficult times.
“To all of you graduates sitting next to me, what is hope but a feeling of optimism?” Carris said. “A thought that things will improve and it won’t always be bleak. There’s always away to rise above the present circumstances. So when looking at the horizon that is our future,we are happy. For although our lives may contain sadness and heartbreak, they also hold joy,love and success. Don’t look back, look forward and smile.”
Salutatorian Rebecca Sullivan also shared a message of resilience to her friends and family in attendance.
“You will face new situations and opportunities that you have never dreamed of facing,” Sullivan said. “You will go through good times, and difficult times, and you will face both failure and success. I know you are prepared to face anything that life has for you.”