PLATTSBURGH - When the 119 seniors of Northeastern Clinton Central School walked into their graduation ceremony, two pictures on their gowns proved they were missing two members of their class.
Every senior donned a photo of Johnathan McGoldrick who passed away in January 2009 and Morgin Baker who passed away last December.
However, posthumous diplomas were given to Jonathan's family, with Morgin's family planning to receive theirs in private.
The graduation, which was held at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh's Field House June 24, also brought forth two student addresses - one from salutatorian Elizabeth Vincelette and the other from valedictorian Cody Jackson.
"High school taught us the power of perseverance," said Vincelette. "Once, I tried to jump a hurdle in [Josie] Gilroy's gym class, which ended in grass stains and bruises. But, everyone encouraged me to give it a second try, and sure enough, the same thing happened."
"Although I had not achieved my goal, I knew that I had given that hurdle the best that I had, and I have never laughed so hard in my life," Vincelette added. "Obstacles may stand in our paths, and even if we fail, we can still have fun trying."
Vincelette also thanked her the faculty and her family for their dedication and time, that helped her make it to that point in her life.
As for Jackson, his speech began by putting a rubber band around his pinky finger, behind his hand and around his thumb - which he spent his entire speech trying to get off with only using that hand.
"I have two pieces of advice for my graduating seniors," said Jackson. "The first is that you need to pursue something you love. It's the only way to live. Always be in the pursuit of happiness and you shall never regret a moment of your time."
For the second piece of advice, Jackson used his left hand to remove the rubber band from his right hand saying, "If you ever are faced with an insurmountable challenge, however large or small it may be, it can usually be accomplished with some help."
"Working together makes so many challenges bow to us," he added. "See, I couldn't remove this rubber band alone, but when I get a helping hand, it was pretty damn easy."