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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Bath grads urged to remember their roots

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  • BATH | Among the graduation traditions of playing “Pomp and Circumstance” and throwing the caps in the air, the Haverling High School Class of 2014 added another tradition – the graduation selfie.
    During Saturday’s commencement ceremony, Haverling co-valedictorian Sarah Wright paused at the beginning of her speech. She took out her cell phone and took a photo of herself and her fellow graduates; one last snapshot of their senior year.
    “This is going on Instagram,” Wright said.
    Keeping an eye on the future while staying firmly rooted in the past was a recurring theme during the Haverling High School commencement ceremony, the 141st in the school’s history.
    Bath Superintendent Joseph Rumsey advised this year’s graduating class to never forget their roots.
    “Even though life seems to be speeding up and changing daily, the Class of 2014 will have the same values (as their predecessors),”Rumsey said. “Never forget the foundation of success laid down by your parents and loved ones.”
    Rumsey also remarked about how quickly time seems to have passed for this graduating class,
    whose members were born between 1995 and 1997.
    “Today we celebrate this milestone for not only the graduates, but also the families, friends,
    teachers and all those who supported this class from the time they were little Rams,” Rumsey said. ”It seems like yesterday this class was finishing up pre-K.”
    Salutatorian Megan E. Preston kept the bittersweet themes going. She remarked that Saturday’s ceremony would probably be the last time the whole class would be in the same room at the same time.
    She offered her classmates a few words of advice.
    “Work hard and do what makes you happy,” Preston said. “We might be about to separate, but today let’s celebrate together.”
    Graduating senior Lindsay Robbins gave the Student Council address. She spoke about the anxiety and uncertainty that many graduates were feeling as they faced a future that was a blank slate – a future that, perhaps for the first time, they would be the main author.
    “We have dreams and goals like everyone else, but nothing is for certain,” Robbins said. “We don't have to know everything right now. We don't have to have every second planned out. We have a class full of very hard workers. Take what you learned here and always be successful.”
    Co-valedictorian Evan McDowell told his fellow classmates to always carry with them the most important lessons they learned during their time in Haverling High School.
    “The average American will meet 50,000 people in his lifetime,” McDowell said. “First impressions matter, even if you never see that person again. Putting a smile on someone else's face matters.”
    Page 2 of 2 - McDowell spoke about an experience he had at summer camp when he was younger when he received the much coveted “spirit beads” given by camp counselors for exemplifying the principles on which the camp was founded.
    “Spirit beads don't exist in the real world,” McDowell said. “We live in a world that rewards
    selfishness and pride. But being kind still matters, even more than being successful. Leave 50,000 good impressions on the people you meet.”
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