WARRENSBURG - Garbed in blue and gold graduation gowns, the 63 soon-to-be graduates of Warrensburg Central School listened intently to Warren County Attorney Paul Dusek as he spoke with positivism about their future.
One of Warren County's top officials and a 1973 alumnus of the school, Dusek was guest speaker at the graduation ceremonies held Friday for the Class of 2009.
While graduates might be wary of their prospects due to the economic turbulence, the future was no less certain when Dusek graduated, he told the students and parents filling the vast school gymnasium.
"It's a reality that the economic times are tough, but this country has been there before and recovered," he said.
He spoke of how he rose from a modest background, went to college on borrowed money, and pursued his goals, step by step.
In 1973 the U.S. had plunged into a recession, and there were widespread shortages of gasoline. Despite looming problems, there was opportunity, he said, to those who sought to achieve. Empowered by their dreams, each student in the Class of 2009 could overcome all obstacles, Dusek said.
"This is your time - your time to dream, and your time to use your talents and strengths," he said. "If you work hard, allow yourself to be empowered by your dreams and talents and seek to benefit not only yourself but others - you will be successful, happy, and enjoy a fulfilling life.
In her speech, Class President Katarina Edwards traced the joys and trials of the journey most all of her classmates shared through 13 years of school days, whether it was pre-school discoveries, teen tribulations, work on high school fundraisers, or experiences at the Junior Prom or on the Senior Trip.
Her advice to her graduating classmates was the same as one she once offered to a fellow roller-coaster rider, Edwards said.