BOLTONLANDING - The strong bond between the Bolton community and local students was hailed by graduating seniors during Bolton Central School commencement exercises Friday night.
As is traditional in this resort town, hundreds of people, whether they were friends or relatives of the students - or merely local residents - packed the gymnasium for the ceremony in giving the students a rousing send-off.
Salutatorian Charlotte Caldwell praised this community spirit in her graduation speech when she recalled how Boltonians had been "continuously and completely supportive" of each student through the years.
"Every one of you here today has had an impact on our lives," she said. "Each member of this amazing community has been influential in building a sturdy foundation which we have developed upon."
Members of the community have not only helped out with student projects and activities, she said, but they have molded lives, she said.
"As I look out into the audience - I see individuals who have taught life lessons and skills that can't just be found in a book - you've inspired, educated and molded us," she said with tears in her eyes.
Valedictorian Sonja Hess also voiced similar thoughts, thanking local teachers, parents and community members.
"It is these human connections, this willingness to work cooperatively and in support of one another, that allows us to create and accomplish wonderful things."
Hess predicted she'd be in the audience in future decades as a community member, helping launch a succeeding generation into the next chapter in their lives.
She envisioned that before her would be a new generation of students exhibiting honesty, responsibility, leadership, character, intelligence and integrity.
"This will prove Bolton's commitment to inspiring excellence in the students, both academically and personally, she said, noting that community support helped develop such character traits that propel students toward success in their lives.