Whitehall graduates told: ‘You can’

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Whitehall High School’s class of 2022 turned their tassels over on the warm summer evening of June 24. As the sun set, 45 students listened to final remarks made by classmates and accepted their diplomas before they headed out on to their next chapter.

WNYT News Channel 13’s Mark Mulholland gave the commencement address.

“As Ellen DeGeneres once said, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path. Unless of course you’re lost in the woods, and you see a path then by all means take that path,” he joked.

“Whitehall class of 2022, if you heard me say anything tonight, remember those two words: You can. Congratulations.”

Class valedictorian Amelia Lyng reflected on the perseverance of the class through the last couple strange years. She said that although they may have not had the same high school experience as classes before them, the staff, administrators, and faculty came together to make sure that their last year was something special.

“It’s been 13 years in the making, but we have all finally made it. Although there have been many hardships along the way like Covid-19 and the devastating flood, we all faced these challenges head on and persevered,” she said.

Lyng said that the student body, staff, faculty, administration, and community are always ready to come together in a time of need. She said that there will always be someone inside the doors of the Whitehall Central School whether it be a friend, teacher that truly cares.

“Whitehall Central School has given us a lot these last few years and for many of us, since kindergarten. Growing up here and attending this school is a different experience than anywhere else. We have a real sense of community here. There are few schools that offer the same amount of compassion and support as ours,” she said.

Lyng spoke about how the class has matured together from a young age and has been able to celebrate many different milestones as a group.

“Back then, graduation was just something that would inevitably happen. Before we knew it, we were leaving junior high and having our end-of-the-year gathering at the beach. We moved on to ninth grade and built our first float. It’s not many times that the freshman gets the first-place award for the parade, but we did it,” she said.

“Senior year brought us pep rallies, our last high school classes, final sports seasons, our amazing class trip, and now graduation, that inevitable moment we’ve been thinking about since sixth grade. Graduation is the time to not only remember and cherish those memories, but to also to look forward to our futures.”

Lyng made mention that although they may be expected to have the rest of their lives figured out at the age of 18, she said it’s unreasonable expectation.

“While some people might have known what they wanted to do since they were 10 years old, others may have decided just because college deadlines were approaching. All of this is okay as this is a journey and no journey is a straight and narrow road,” she said.