continued The Schroon Lake graduation ceremony included comments from Bill Rourke, a retiring faculty member, a video tribute to the class, an address by class adviser Laura Corey, the presentation of awards and scholarships, and remarks by salutatorian Matt Filler.
“As I prepared for what I would say today, I wasn’t quite sure where to start, but I knew that I couldn’t say much without saying thank you to those who have allowed me to be in this position today,” said Filler, who went on to express gratitude to family, friends, teachers and others.
Filler offered a series of quotations he believes reflect on the class. He quoted former NFL player and coach Tony Dungy, who observed, “You can have an impact anywhere you are.”
“There are going to be times when everything seems to be going wrong,” Filler said. “That’s a fact. The key is to make sure we take a step back, evaluate the situation and work to move forward and make the best of it. Even in these horrible circumstances we can know that we can still have an impact on the people around us. So will it be a positive or negative impact? Will we live with only ourselves in mind or will we be challenged to remember those around us as well?”
Filler then challenged classmates.
“Build lasting relationships,” he said. “Don’t use people. Have friendships that allow you and your friends to have support in times of need. True friendships last and they are symbiotic. They work for both people.
“Secondly, integrity matters,” Filler added. “Honesty matters. I don’t think there needs to be a further explanation on that.
“Next, don’t let others’ criticisms cause you to falter and fail,” he said. “Don’t put yourself down because of criticism, but rather use that criticism to get better. Sometimes it’s best to not take any of the criticism personally, but use it as an opportunity to grow.