By THOMAS SCHWARTZ
OBSERVER Staff Writer
SOUTH DAYTON - "The end of the school year is exciting, stressful and daunting for all involved. It has been said that learning is an accomplishment, not a process," said Pine Valley Central School Principal Cathy Fabiatos Sunday afternoon. "Never stop learning."
OBSERVER?Photo by Thomas Schwartz
Fifty-four PVCS?seniors received their diplomas on Sunday afternoon. Kyle Jackson gets a grip on his diploma from school board president Ronald Chase.
Fifty-four students dressed in white and purple sat on the stage in four rows while alumni, administration and classmembers spoke through the last hours prior to being certified as graduates.
"Feel it burning deep in your stomach? That's not heartburn, it's bigger than heartburn. It's a genuine sense of emotion and concern. I'm telling you that you don't have to worry," Valedictorian Joel Hallett said.
In a letter sent to the Pine Valley graduating Class of 2009, County Executive Greg Edwards encouraged each and every one of them to take every opportunity along the way. "Congratulations, and enjoy this well deserved honor." Fabiatos read aloud.
Amanda Elsholz's accolades in her years at Pine Valley earned her the title of Salutatorian. Her extensive list of positions and activities is spotted with regional pride and local interests. Fabiotos introduced her as President of the National Honor Society, Treasurer of the Spanish Club and up until recently, Dairy Princess of Cattaraugus County.
She talked about high school sports; "The fans are incredible, I've seen miracles happen all from the faith fans have in their team," thanked her parents; "I would not be the person I am if it weren't for them Thank you dad for truly being a teacher," and gave blessings and praise to her classmates; "In know without a doubt that we will all be successful in our lives. Congratulations to the class of 2009."
The senior chorus sand "Ride on the Wind" accompanied by Tim Arroyo on piano.
Valedictorian Joel Hallett has been president of the class of 2009 for the last six years. He is an accomplished leader and sportsman playing varsity basketball, baseball and football and does a lot of charity fundraising. His speech was like a stand-up comedy routine. "When I found out I would be Valedictorian I thought, now I have to write a speech, how fair is that? I have write another essay so I scribbled something down on this napkin," Hallett reached in the neck hole of his gown and pulled out a crumpled white square of flimsy paper. "I see someone spit their gum out into my speech."
Keynote speaker was James Sauberan, alumnis from the class of 1964. He is a teacher and coach at the University of Rochester and helped the UofR gather 25 section five championships and one state championship. He had jokes too, and thanked the Pine Valley Administration for what he assumed was his "police escort" along the the. "When I reached Balcom Corners, I saw two Amish buggy's. Thank you, that's a very nice way to make people feel welcome."
"I'm very proud to say that 45 years ago I stood on this stage." Sauberan speech was about change. "Change is more than a slogan. Change is what life is all about. In high school change is all around you. You have new friends, you change buildings. You've seen psychical change and there's no doubt that change causes anxiety and every day is an adventure." He closed with words of inspiration, "Be thankful, inquisitive and enthusiastic." As he left the podium some students casual gave him a Pine Valley duffel bag with a gift in it.
The awards ceremony was the most extensive part of the commencement. $80,000 worth of awards and scholarships were given to the graduates.
Ashley Melinski won an award from the school for having the highest average in English 12. Next year she will go to SUNY Fredonia for Math Education.
The class returned the generosity by getting together on a gift which was presented by Katlyn Swanson and and Jenna Austin. "We purchased a gas grill for the football stands. The grill will be transferable from class to class and help Pine Valley students with fundraising."
Diplomas were awarded and the entire auditorium sang Pine Valley's Alma Matar song which has the refrain, "Oh, hail thee Alma Mater, All glory to your name. Lift voice in song. Our cheers prolong, all hearts will feel the same."