Final St. Johnsville class bids farewell

ST. JOHNSVILLE – Members of the last graduating class of the St. Johnsville Central School District said Sunday they’re looking forward to the future.

Members of the Class of 2013, totaling 24, said they were relieved to graduate during the 124th commencement ceremony Sunday.

“We’re all excited, really,” said graduate Andrew Smith, who plans to attend Mohawk Valley Community College to become a registered nurse.

“Going to college, get done and work for a living,” Smith said confidently.

The Class of 2013 was the final graduating class at St. Johnsville because the school district is merging with the Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School District starting this fall.

St. Johnsville graduate Sam Cleveland said graduating felt odd to him.

“It’s like it’s not supposed to be happening right now,” Cleveland said.

U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, spoke with students before the graduation.

“I know this is a milestone, not only for you but the district,” said Tonko, who urged the graduates to make the world better in their way and not to be silent.

Class Valedictorian Andrew Wheelock said graduation was like entering the first day of school.

“We are all sitting here, excited and nervous. We are unsure of what we are going to do in the coming years,” Wheelock said.

However, he said, uncertainty is another word for opportunity. He told the class to measure its success by its own happiness.

Salutatorian Alex Hart said it was important to have pride in what the students accomplished.

“I believe my class is justified in being proud of all our accomplishments, for you can only get things in life if you are willing to work for them. In addition to our willingness to work hard in and out of school, I am also extremely proud to be the last class to graduate from St. Johnsville High School,” Hart said.

St. Johnsville Superintendent Laura Lawrence said it had been an honor to be the class’s superintendent for the past year.