SCHROON LAKE - Sarah Garcia desperately wanted her father to see her high school graduation. So, when he became ill there was only one thing to do.
Garcia decided to take extra courses, combine her junior and senior years, and graduate early.
She did it so well she's the valedictorian of the Schroon Lake Central School Class of 2010.
"This year, I did not know what my future would bring," Garcia said at graduation ceremonies June 25. "I did not know where my dad's health would be and all I wanted was to assure his presence at my graduation. Dad, we made it!"
Garcia thanked her new classmates for accepting and supporting her.
"The Class of 2010, I cannot express my thanks enough," she said. "You helped me turn a negative situation into a positive one. When I came to your class, I never felt like the new kid. This class took me and transformed me from a junior to a senior in the matter of a year. You guys are so much fun. I can honestly say that I have never met a class with such a great sense of humor as yours, and I feel blessed that I got to get to know each and every one of you."
Alyssa Lough, Class of 2010 salutatorian, reminded classmates learning doesn't end with graduation.
"The experience here at Schroon Lake Central School has not simply been about learning from books, but it has provided a laboratory for life," Lough said. "I'd like to thank all of our teachers for investing their lives in us.
"Our learning has certainly not been limited to the classroom," she said. "Our lives have been shaped and molded on athletic fields, by world events, by things we've read, and by our families and friends."
Learning will continue, Lough said, and urged graduates to remember "three simple truths" - learning is a life-long activity; life is short, make it count everyday; and God is not finished with them yet.