The weather teased the region with a potential for thundershowers Friday, so Wallkill’s commencement, scheduled for outdoors, was moved inside.
Wallkill presented a small class, 235 students, but two rooms, the auditorium and the gymnasium, were overflowing with people wishing the graduates a buoyant send-off into their futures.
And to get there, the graduates were awarded $5.4 million in scholarship funds.
“From my experience,” said Mike Rydell, the high school principal , “that’s a new record.”
Rydell made his comments in an air-conditioned auditorium, instead of at a podium on a humid football field. Down the hall, family and friends, filled the bleachers in the gymnasium and seats on the floor to watch the graduates get their diplomas on a big screen.
Linzy Dineen, the class valedictorian, urged her classmates to take everything they learned from Wallkill and put it to use in the future lives.
“All this knowledge with prove to be useful later in life,” she said. “The world is waiting for us. Go explore it, go change it.”
Josephine Rose, the class salutatorian, reminded her classmates that time is fluid – but limited – and to use it wisely during the many challenges that will face them in coming years.
“Time really does by fast. The past four years have been filled with memories,” she said. “The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. You kind of never know what will happen.”
By Bond Brungard