Class of 2019 receives diplomas in June 22 ceremony

Twenty-one seniors received their high school diplomas Saturday morning as the Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School District held its annual Commencement ceremony.

Acting Principal Heather Ketchum Wilcox urged the students to embrace their futures and to remember kindness. GMU Superintendent Annette Hammond gave them a list of seven thoughts, one of which was to commit themselves to positive thinking, adding that “the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Taking the stage in the Auditorium to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by the Senior High School Band, the seniors listened to speeches by Salutatorian Hunter Christian and Valedictorian Natalie Pistor.

Christian, who will attend Hartwick College to study nursing, reminded her fellow students that some of their most valuable learning involved “the importance of working toward our goals in life, the power of words, to never give up, how to be leaders, and how to respect one another.” She added that “…it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to have bad days, it’s okay to not be perfect, and it’s okay to be yourself.”

Pistor will attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She transferred to GMU as a freshman, and she noted that she had overcome her shyness during her time at the high school. She urged her classmates to “Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Run for student council, recite a speech in front of the high school (all 150 of them); join a club that forces you to think on your feet in front of a judge and your peers—actually join any club. This will surround yourself with like minded and driven people who inspire you to use your voice for change, alliance, and service.”

Class Secretary Jazmine Brooks announced that the class gift will be a new podium for the auditorium. Class President Nina D’Amato and representative Shalleigh Taranto delivered a humorous and heartfelt class history, and Hailey Cappiello and Sydney Swift gave the audience a glimpse into the events to come with their class future report.

The class applauded its advisor, guidance counselor Kathryn Parsons, and thanked her for her hard work with a gift certificate for a spa day at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown.

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