The Pine Bush High School Class of 2022 moved on to the next chapter of their lives on Friday, June 24, 2022, as 379 students walked across the coveted stage during the annual commencement ceremony.
Senior Class President Jack Gandolfini welcomed his fellow classmates, teachers and administration, as well as family and friends, during the special evening. “High school has prepared us for the journey of our lives. We have learned lessons both in and out of the classroom that will guide us, drive us, and inspire us,” said Gandolfini.
Pine Bush High School Principal Aaron Hopmayer shared with graduates how proud he was for the way they handled the adversity of the last few years and when life knocked them down they got back up. “There are times in life’s journey where you should pause and look at what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come- graduation is definitely one of those times and this particular graduation even more so,” he shared.
He reminded students that they are strong and can face anything in life. “When challenges and adversity come your way- and they will- remember this moment. Remember what it took to get here. You have already faced an adverse situation completely beyond your control, one filled with incredible stress and disappointment, one you could not have possibly been prepared for. How did you respond? How did you react when life knocked you down? You did not let unforeseen circumstances define you. You did not wallow in self-pity. You did not let failure overcome you. You stood up, took stock in the situation and forged forward. In fact, you came back stronger than before,” said Hopmayer.
Interim Superintendent of Schools Donna Geidel, thanked students for rising to the occasion during the pandemic and excelling in the classroom. She advised students to look towards the unknown future with open arms and hearts. “Regrets only come from what you don’t try,” she shared with the class.
Salutatorian Julian Lazaro reminded his classmates to remember where they come from while also moving ahead. “Tonight marks the end of an exciting, thrilling and memorable chapter, but it’s also the beginning of a new one. Whether you’re going to enter the workforce, join the military or head off to college- always remember to do what makes you happy. If you can find a way to get paid doing what you love the most then go ahead and follow that dream. But as you follow that dream be sure to appreciate the people who guided you onto the path and to cherish the relationships you make along the way. The road to happiness is not one traveled alone, but one traveled with the help of others. So thank your family, friends and teachers for being there,” said Lazaro.
Valedictorian Alicia Kretschmer shared with her fellow classmates that the last four years were unlike anything they could have expected and while some may feel they missed out on certain experiences they should look to the future with optimism. She reminded classmates that since kindergarten they were all on the same path and time frame, but now they are able to make their own way in the world and define their own success.
“There is no grade 13- your time is now- what you do from here is for you to decide. We are now going our separate ways in this changing world. Make your own choices, but continue to use the support of those who have guided you in the past. I wish you all the very best with whatever life brings you next,” she said.