Indian Lake Graduation ceremonies are by nature a time of reflection, pride, joy and a sense of freedom, all peppered with a pinch of apprehension. On Saturday, June 23, there was something else present at the Indian Lake Central School gymnasium: an incredible sense of community.
Perhaps the spirit and power of community pride was best exemplified by Patricia Ryan-Curry, advisor for the 12 seniors in the Class of 2012. In her address, she began with the African belief that it takes a village to raise a child; teachers, friends, family and the whole community work in consort toward the goal of best preparing the young for life.
She defined the class using the Finnish word “Sisu,” having strength of will, determination, perseverance and acting rationally in the face of adversity.
“This term best depicts this class,” Ryan-Curry told the audience and then spoke directly to the students. “Continue to go forward in your lives with sisu … your village wants the best for you.”
And, the “village” proved this to be true. It rewarded the class handsomely, with nearly 50 awards and scholarships from various community members and groups spread across the dozen graduates.
This same sense of pride in community was celebrated when the graduates assembled in front of the stage to sing “Down in the Boondocks” and “Little Big Town.”
It resounded in the valedictory, when Alyssa Cuthbert reminisced about her graduating class, their adventures together on the class trip to Washington, D.C. and in the warmth and respectful familiarity with which she recollected episodes that occurred on the trip involving their class advisor and chaperone, Mark Curry. It was particularly clear when Cuthbert defined her graduating class as being, “all different as one” and when she expressed their collective feeling about leaving ILCS as “ being bittersweet.”
The ceremonies opened with an audio-visual presentation that incorporated personal photos set to a musical selection for each graduate. The respective segments celebrated the young lives of the graduates as they interacted with family and friends and participated in activities within the community. Each segment closed with the graduation photograph of the student being celebrated.