‘I Remember My Classmates’
SHERMAN – Sherman Central School graduating seniors were told Friday night that they have the power to have a “massive influence” on other people because of the confidence their education has given them.
Dr. Andrew M. Reyda, DVM, and a graduate of SCS 24 years ago, told 41 graduates that the size and social dynamic of the school and community have provided them with a sense of identity that gives them confidence to go forward wherever life will take them.
“Your sense of identity allows you to enter another town, city, state or even country with confidence,” Reyda said. “It doesn’t matter what your vocation is. Through your confidence, character and determination … it becomes your turn to influence a new generation – to impress and excite others to become who they will become.”
Reyda said he became aware of this power to influence others when his son asked him who was his third-grade teacher. His son was amazed that he answered immediately without thinking about it.
“I started to think: I remember my teachers. I remember my classmates.”
Reyda told the graduates that understanding the dynamic of their own individuality and their power to influence others would allow them to have a sense of awareness of themselves and a purpose.
Reyda graduated from SCS in 1990 and from veterinary school in 1998. He worked in downtown Buffalo before becoming owner of the Village Vet Clinic in Hamburg.
This was the 132nd annual commencement for Sherman. After a prelude photo montage of graduates at different points in their lives, the seniors walked in and took their places on the stage of the auditorium. During the conferring of diplomas, a personal message from a teacher or parent was read for each graduate.
Michael Ginestre, Sherman principal, conducted the ceremony, introducing each speaker and participant. He began by telling those attending about the many successes of the class of 2014.
“Each senior that started in September is on stage tonight,” Ginestre said.
Members of the class have succeeded in music, art, sports, academics and much more, he said.
“The list of success for the class of 2014 goes on and on,” he said. “Are we confident that the seniors on stage tonight have the ability to be successful? The answer is yes.”
Kaine Kelly, Sherman superintendent, gave the last remarks before diplomas were awarded urging graduates to give their full attention to each of life’s experiences. He said that Sherman tries not only to educate its students, but to teach them to think and be aware.
“Keep a simple awareness of what is hidden in plain sight. We often miss the obvious, the beauty of life. Walk out into the world with your eyes and minds wide open,” he said.
Valedictorian Rebekah Anderson reminded her classmates that they will be remembered by what they do, not what they say. The changes that they have experienced throughout their lives will not end with graduation and no one can foresee what their life will bring.
“As our actions defined who we were in high school, so they will continue to define who we are as we leave Sherman and begin our lives,” she said. “I know that each person graduating tonight has the ability to succeed wherever he or she chooses to go in life. … Live life, love life and have no regrets.”
Salutatorian Kimberly Pacy used the analogy of a $20 bill to emphasize the unique value of each person. Even though she crumpled the bill, threw it on the floor and stomped on it, people would still want it because its value does not change. In the same way, a person’s inherent value cannot be changed by the events of life, she said.
“We all start out as babies and become little kids, learning to become independent,” she said. “Over time, we began to age and different events that occur in our lives begin to change, ultimately causing us to become more and more unique. Sometimes these circumstances do not go our way and we begin to feel insignificant. No one is insignificant: We are all extremely valuable. … Be that $20 bill. Be unique. Be yourself. Why would you want to be anyone else?” she said.
Jordan Boland, class historian, cautioned his classmates not to measure success by money alone.
“We should live with peace and joy, loving our life, loving our career, loving our family. Do not let money be the defining factor of your success,” he said.
Success does not occur at only one point in a person’s life, Boland said, but over many points throughout.
“You are at the mercy of yourself. Go forward and do what you wish,” he said. “Strive above and beyond your potential. Defining your own success is the key element in life.”