CHESTERTOWN-About three weeks ago, a group of seniors at North Warren High School watched the movie Toy Story 3, Class of 2011 Valedictorian Alana Kilcullen recalled during her graduation speech Saturday June 25. The screening occurred in North Warren's Mass Media course.
The Seniors watched intently, Kilcullen recalled, when the animated toys banded together, holding hands in friendship. After a scene in which the film's central character Andy lets go of his toys to move on with his life, the seniors cried and embraced each other in a group hug, she said, noting that it was her generation that had grown up with this movie.
"We all began to realize that it was our turn to move on and let our friends do the same, our turn to say our goodbyes, our turn to graduate," Kilcullen said. "As Andy had, we had grown up."
This close bond between students, which is nurtured at their small K-12 school, was celebrated at NWCS graduation ceremonies as the students set their sights on the future.
Kilcullen recalled that the members of the Class of 2011 were also the class were the first group of graduates to have been educated for their entire tenure in North Warren's Rte. 8 school building, which was opened when the Class of 2011 was in Kindergarten.
Such closeness, she said, allowed the graduates to know each other well, appreciate each others's attributes, and maintain a close bond that was life-enriching.
"There are 36 reasons sitting on the stage before you, 36 unique contributions as to why the North Warren Class of 2011 is as great as it is," she said, after recalling shared memories. Such experiences through their school years include the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks as youngsters, traveling to Montreal on a field trip and getting lost, or watching President Obama's inaugural address as 10th graders.