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Warrensburg’s grads hailed, urged to embrace responsibility

OUR FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT... Basking in the spotlight due to their achievements, Warrensburg High School’s soon-to-be-graduates don shades to reduce the glare shortly before receiving their diplomas.

OUR FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT... Basking in the spotlight due to their achievements, Warrensburg High School’s soon-to-be-graduates don shades to reduce the glare shortly before receiving their diplomas.

— Standing at a lectern during graduation ceremonies Friday June 22, Warrensburg High School Principal Doug Duell paused and surveyed the Class of 2012 onstage — perhaps his last look at the 66 class members at once.

“This class is one of the highest academic-achieving classes to ever leave this building,” he said, noting that 30 of the students were graduating with an 85 percentile ranking or higher, and 22 were National Honor Society members. Duell added that many of them were also accomplished actors, musicians, athletes and ballet dancers.

Superintendent of Schools Tim Lawson noted that a large number in the Class of 2012 were headed to well-respected colleges, led by Valedictorian Maggie Danna to Middlebury College and Salutatorian John "Jack" Eaton to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Many others, he said, were off to study pharmacology, medicine, engineering, mathematics, accounting, and media arts.

Recognizing their achievements, Duell offered advice to the students, poised to move forward in life. He noted that accepting and practicing responsibility was key to mental health, success and happiness.

Responsibility, he said, is reflected in practicing self-discipline, expressing gratitude, pursuing service to others, and staying connected to one’s roots.

Self-discipline means controlling desires, actions, and attitudes, he said, to avoid being self-centered and shallow.

“Self-discipline involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel in the moment — Often it means sacrificing the pleasure and thrill of the moment for what matters most in life.”

Lawson also referred to responsibility.

“We in the public schools have done our job only if our students become fully responsible for their own continued intellectual, professional and civic growth,” he said.

High Honors student Autumn Smith talked about how the many accomplished students in her class had already applied responsibility to get where they are today.

“It’s taken many hours of studying, late nights finishing projects, and juggling difficult course loads, along with various extracurricular activities,” she said.

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