Clintonville Students at AuSable Valley Central School were applauded June 23, but also took time to applaud their families.
“You should be very proud today,” Superintendent Paul Savage said to the families in the audience. “It is really a tremendous effort and we are all thankful for your support, dedication and love. You give us your best and now they are ready to go out and give their best to the world.”
“They were always there for us,” salutatorian Alexis Facteau said. “Applaud and thank your family for all of the hard worked they pushed you to do. They took you to practices and games, watched your games, helped you study and shared your tears.”
Facteau also said that it was her classmates who helped her overcome fears, a lesson that she and they will need as they leave high school.
“We must remember that fear of the future is worse than failure itself,” she said. “Fear no more and become stronger and more independent.”
Valedictorian Sierra Cotrona also talked about overcoming fear and knowing where to turn for support.
“Failure is OK because it is what builds us up and makes us stronger,” Cotrona said. “Do something that scares you to death — fall in love, change your mind. If you should lose your way, though, take comfort in knowing that you can always find your way home.”
Molly Gardner, an AVCS alum and current comedian/actress, told students she had three thoughts for them: think positive thoughts; no job is beneath you; and you just keep being you and everyone else will catch up.
“Negative thoughts are just your fears trying to pretend they are real,” Gardner said. “Your thoughts are your constant companion, so you need to decide if you want someone around who lifts you up or tears you down.”
Gardner also told the students to make sure that they knew where they wanted to go in life without limitations.
“Write out your goals, and do not filter yourself,” she said. “You might surprise yourself with what you can do. Remember that you cannot control the outcome; you can only control that you do your best.”