Chautauqua Lake celebrates graduation

‘Set your goals high’

OBSERVER Photo by Aaron Lundmark Pictured are members of the Chautauqua Lake Class of 2018 singing the Alma Mater at Thursday’s 22nd annual commencement ceremony

MAYVILLE — A few miles off the coast of gorgeous Chautauqua Lake, a special night happened for a lot of young boys and girls.

The usual Thunderbird blue flooded the halls as the Chautauqua Lake Central High School Class of 2018 wore their caps and gowns across the stage of the school’s auditorium to receive their diplomas. The seats were packed with family, friends and mentors who all have been eagerly awaiting this moment for years and years. Finally, the students can call themselves high school graduates.

To start off the 22nd annual commencement ceremonies, Jennifer Davis and Wendy Marlinski led the entire auditorium in the singing of “America the Beautiful” and the Chautauqua Lake Alma Mater. At the conclusion of the opening chorale, Secondary School Principal and Director of Athletics Joshua Liddell gave the opening remarks.

Liddell encouraged students as well as challenged them as they move forward.

“We can, without reservation, state that you have made the Ripley and Chautauqua Lake communities extremely proud,” stated Liddell. “As you embark on the next stage of your life, please remember your class quote and never forget that you already possess the skill set needed to make a lasting positive impact on the greater community.” Liddell was referring to all of the Class of 2018 students behind him, who donated hours to the community, brought the community together and strengthened the community as a whole. Liddell highlighted the importance of receiving that certificate, which isn’t just for getting a job or attending college, but to use it to make a lasting impact on the people around them.

Liddell closed his portion of speaking with this, “A last reminder, to be careful not to let your past success define you, and work to use your past achievements as a catalyst to attain your future goals. As you move forward, remember to stay motivated, set your goals high, focus on what is important and go confidently in whatever direction you choose.”

After a brief introduction of guests by Superintendent of Schools Benjamin Spitzer, the podium was turned over to a pair of students who had already used Liddell’s directions to “stay motivated” and “set your goals high.” Those students were the Class of 2018 Valedictorian Joshua Janicki, and Salutatorian Anna Sena.

Sena took the stage first just before the class received their diplomas, and stated to her class that they shouldn’t fear the future, but rather feel confident in their abilities to own their future.

“We should feel confident in our future, because we live in the greatest country on this Earth and we are the young Americans who are the future of that nation,” stated Sena, sparking applause. “We believe in success, we value knowledge, and we hold our values and our opinions close. We all have common ground… We need to learn how to listen to each other, talk to each other, and get along with each other.”

Sena shared memories both personally, athletically and academically with her class and the audience. Sena whole-heartedly concluded with the comment, “I know that we, the Class of 2018, are ready for the future.”

Following her presentation, the ceremonies moved to its presentation of diplomas, which was commentated by guidance counselors Jessica Cowen and Jason Richardson. Each and every one of the graduating 78 seniors received a personal commentation from their guidance counselors, which only highlighted the extremely close-knit group this school has.

In conclusion of handing out the diplomas, Janicki took the podium, and he admittedly said he was not a fan of public speaking. However, he didn’t need to like it to be able to give his message.

Janicki encouraged his fellow students. He said, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Put yourself our there, don’t be afraid to fail. I have no doubt that everyone of you can be as successful as you put your minds to be.”

The boys and girls walked off the stage, senior by senior, for the last time as — not students — high school graduates. Whether the seniors are going to be future college students, entering the workforce or joining the armed forces, on thing they all have in common, is that they’ll be linked together forever as the Chautauqua Lake Class of 2018.