Class of 2022 takes a final bow

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The RCS Class of 2022 marked its graduation from high school Friday evening. Courtesy of RCS Central School District

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — The Class of 2022 took its final bow Friday evening at the commencement ceremony held at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

After graduates filed into the convention center to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance,” the audience joined in the Pledge of Allegiance. The national anthem was followed by several musical performances by the high school’s bands and choirs.

High School Principal Dr. Lisa Patierne welcomed the crowd and paid tribute to the graduating class.

“The Class of 2022 is an incredible group of students,” Patierne said. “I continue to be in awe and inspired by their kindness, their warmth and their respect. They have made beautiful music, put on large theatrical productions, competed on our fields, helped those in need and worked hard to achieve their goals.”

The students have faced challenges over the years, but worked through them, she added.

“I have observed so many of them persevere through difficult times, not letting adversity win, and that has truly inspired me,” Patierne said. “They have amazed me with their gifts, their kindness and their abilities, and helped make it a great four years, despite the circumstances we were faced with.”

The Class of 2022 is the third graduating class to have their high school experience impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with its associated shutdowns, quarantines and cancellations, among others.

Patierne awarded medals to the top 10 students, ranked by grade point average.

The valedictorian of the graduating class was Mollie McFerran and the salutatorian was Madeline Dewsbury. The remaining top 10 students, in order, were Katherine Pagnotta, Uchenna Uba, Sofia Orsino, Cianna Williams, Izaak King, Julianna Tourangeau, Abigail Mercer and Aidan White.

Dewsbury delivered the salutatorian address.

Salutatorian Madeline Dewsbury

“Life is anything but easy in high school, but we all made it through and I commend us on our perseverance,” she said. “High school is a huge thing in anyone’s life and this day marks the end of a chapter.”

With graduation from high school, the students are about to take on a new set of challenges, she said.

“We are about to leave this bubble of reality and venture out on our own for — for some of us — the first time ever,” Dewsbury said. “And that is scary, but I know that if anyone can make it, it’s this class. We are strong and intelligent and willing to fight our way to the top.”

McFerran said in her valedictorian speech that the journey to graduation did not begin four years ago — it began 13 years ago when the students took their first tentative step onto a school bus for the first time. Along the way, they learned independence, leading to their high school years.

Valedictorian Mollie McFerran

“The last four years have been a wild ride of highs and lows,” McFerran said. “We got to experience Friday Night Lights, Spirit Weeks, pep rallies and prom. But we also felt the lows, like missing out on so many traditions, field trips and more that we look forward to.”

Preferring to focus on the highs rather than the lows, McFerran spoke about the many accomplishments of the graduates of the Class of 2022.

“These last four years have given us many talented classmates and friends,” she said. “Our class has state champions, national qualifiers, accomplished musicians, talented artists and more. We have people with jobs lined up for after graduation thanks to internships, vo-tech, BOCES and more. And others that are continuing their education.”

The lessons learned in high school will help them continue on their chosen path, McFerran added.

“Everything that we have learned and experienced has brought us here today and will continue to help us in the future, whether you are continuing with your schooling, entering a trade or entering the workforce, we will again have to learn how to manage away from our families and what we know,” she said. “We will need to adapt to our new environment and grow our independence.”

“This isn’t the end of our story, it is just the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.”

Check out more photos from the Class of 2022 commencement:

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