ST. JOHNSVILLE – Members of the first graduating class from the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville High School crossed the stage and took their diplomas Friday.
Students and faculty at the ceremony noted the class of 2014 is the first group to graduate from the OESJ school district, which was created when the former Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school districts merged.
Co-Valedictorian Jessica Senft spoke about how the class, made up of students from two former school districts, has become one.
“For me, at least, being in school, talking between classes is one thing. But when we were out [together], it was like we were really becoming friends. Between photo booths and Golden Corral, I was really feeling connected to the senior class,” Senft said.
Co-Salutatorian Skyler Viveros spoke about how much the students from different connected in their year together, and listed the positive traits she had learned from others in the class.
Ellen Smith, co-valedictorian, stressed to her classmates the importance of the future and respect for others.
“The most important thing I learned while on the outskirts of tomorrow is how to treat people. I learned something more than just math and science from my teachers. I learned that everyone deserves respect, no matter who they are or what they look like: and you will go far in life if you know this and abide by it,” Smith said.
Jeremy Wegener, co-salutatorian, said life can be similar to a board game in many ways.
“We are all moving forward from the same point, graduating high school. As we navigate the board of life, some of us may be sent back a few spaces, while others will be fortunate enough to advance forward without these setbacks,” Wegener said.
However, he said, unlike many board games, there is more than one way to win in life.
“In life, there are many paths we can take, with each path offering a different way to win. These wins will not be the same for everyone; what I consider success might not be the same as what you consider it to be,” Wegener said.