LAKE PLACID - There was a small but lively class of graduates this year in Lake Placid.
The Class of 2014, 38 students in all, took to the Olympic Speedskating Oval Friday evening to receive their degrees and celebrate their educational achievement.
After opening greetings, high school Principal Dana Wood held a moment of silence for two teenage swimmers from Plattsburgh who recently drowned in Wilmington. Wood then introduced David Knapik, who delivered the salutatory address. Knapik said he had a hard time writing his speech, so he looked up on the Internet what a salutatory speech entailed.
Lake Placid seniors walk from the front of the Lake Placid Middle/High School down to the stage on the Olympic Speedskating Oval during their graduation ceremony on Friday.
Photo — Matthew Turner
"As with the majority of Internet searches I did not exactly find what I was looking for," Knapik said. "As defined by Urban Dictionary, 'The salutatorian is the person who just missed being valedictorian by a few GPA points. A very miserable person, indeed.' Although I do happen to agree with the first part of the statement, I cannot concur with the second part of the statement."
All that matters is that people accomplish the goals they set for themselves, Knapik said.
"We are here today because we succeeded and we should all be proud of this fact," he said.
Valedictorian Erin Weaver spoke next, focusing her descriptive speech on her fellow students. She said she recently realized her friends and classmates have been present for the majority of her life, and that would soon change.
"The nerd in me wanted concrete numbers, so I completed some calculations," Weaver said. "Approximately 7:35 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. averages to seven hours a day. Seven hours multiplied by five days a week and then by 36 school weeks a year comes to 1,260 hours. Multiply that by 13 years of formal education and you will find yourself on this stage with 16,380 hours of experience."
Weaver spoke of the experiences the students had during their school life.
"We've had quite a busy 13 years, creating and sculpting our lives together," she said. "In hindsight, I am so grateful for my 16,380 hours and all the lessons and laughs that have accompanied the days. I'm already looking forward to the next few thousand hours to see the creative and impactful way my classmates will change their lives and communities."
The commencement address was delivered by RoseAnn Hickey. A graduate of the University of Delaware and SUNY Plattsburgh, Hickey was the principal of St. Agnes Elementary School for two years and spent 20 years as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at the Lake Placid Elementary School. The Class of 2014 had asked Hickey to be their commencement speaker. She compared graduation to another personal life changing event, in a humorous bit of monologue.
"I realized why they invited me (to speak), because I am also graduating this year," Hickey said. "When you're their age, it's called graduation. When you're my age, it's called retirement."
Hickey said if the students thought 13 years to graduate was tough, try 46 years.
"Are you feeling a little bit anxious about what lies ahead after this? Me, too. I've never retired," Hickey said. "Secretly, are you hoping someone is going to buy you a car for graduation? Me, too, but I know that's not going to happen for me."
The Class of 2014 is now headed off in a new direction, whether to work, join the military or go to college. The Class of 2014 received a total of $93,400 in scholarships on Monday, which makes it likely many of them will be graduating again in the near future.