DANSVILLE — There was a sense of bittersweet harmony for this year’s graduating Mustangs as much of the ceremony was about triumph over loss.
On June 23, the Dansville High School 129th Annual Commencement took place in the gymnasium with not an empty seat in sight.
Opening remarks were given by Shawn Harnish about rising above the obstacles in life.
“Graduation is a true sense of accomplishment, but also a sadness for things are about to change. You may not know this, but school was never meant to teach you everything,” he said. “Education is meant to give you all the tools you need to dig out the deeper treasures in life.”
Harnish said to go out into the world and learn something new from everyone.
High School Principal Thomas Frazier said that he has fond memories of the Class of 2018.
“My mind is flooded with the many great memories of this senior class. It has been an honor to watch you grow and develop into the men and women you are today,” he said. “This grace is something you have all learned from your parents, school, and community.”
Frazier talked about some highlights of this grace being demonstrated in the senior class. Such as when Texas was hit with Hurricane Harvey. The Class of 2018 rallied to get hundreds of Christmas gifts sent to one of the schools in need. In late November Valedictorian Nicholas Rosica lost his mother, Lisa, to cancer. It was at this time two school communities (Dansville and Hornell) came together to raise $15,000 for the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center.
“Martin Luther King Jr. once said you don’t need a degree to be able to serve,” Frazier said. “You just need a heart full of grace and a soul full of love. Always be proud to be a Dansville Mustang.”
Valedictorian Nicholas Rosica did his speech entitled “Three Stories” about the three important topics.
“Steve Jobs … Any of you guys heard of him before? Well if you haven’t he was the CEO of Apple. In 2005 he gave a commencement speech about adversity he faced at three points in his life. My first story is about an everyday adversity,” he said. “Let’s reflect back at the challenges we faced as students. I honestly don’t know if any of us would be ready for the next chapter in our life if not for those three important lessons.”
“The ability to develop relationships with others is going to be what carries us through life. My second story is about something a little more serious … loss,” Rosica continued. “In 2015 we were only freshmen. We have suffered the loss of a teacher, coach and mentor when Mr. Button passed. When the truth of the matter is there are lots of friends and family here who have also experienced loss. It is unfortunate they can not be here today.”
Rosica talked about the loss of his mother, Lisa, last November and what the memory of her means to so many.
“Everyone here has lost someone at some point. The way our class has dealt with these losses is unbelievable. Our ability to achieve at the highest level, and be our best in our darkest moments is unparalleled. I am most proud of our class for that reason,” he said. “This past November I lost my mom. Many of you were there for me through that, because of my relationship with you as a fellow classmate. This was the most difficult situation that I faced. I am truly thankful for the love and support I got from all of you. We rallied together to raise over $15,000 for the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center in memory of my mom. Everyone here has overcome something along those lines.”
Rosica’s third story he talked about in his speech was the one that is unwritten.
“I am talking about the future. Perhaps at our 10 year reunion we will talk about all the ways in which we overcame. We could be possibly moms, dads, doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, engineers, and maybe even the next Steve Jobs,” he said. “Most importantly we will have achievers who fought all the odds. We will never allow a person to hold us back from anything in life.”
Salutatorian Abigail Evans talked about the names we are called, and the names we will give ourselves in her speech called “Hello.”
“I have other names for myself too, and most of the time if you ask I will say I’m tired cuz I stayed up until 3 a.m. watching Netflix. I have other names I call myself … creative and loud,” she said. “Throughout the years we have called each other many names as well. There are nice names like … pretty, funny and excited. There are bad names like lonely at the lunch table, sad for what we lost, or exhausted with all the homework.”
“Today we are all called graduates. That is a name we make for ourselves. We decided that we wanted that name, and made an effort to claim it,” Evans continued. “What will we be called tomorrow? What will we never be called again? In the coming years we will hear many people call us many names. The most important name though that we can ever find is … happy. Some of us will be called heroes, some of us will be called successful, and others will be free of college debt trying to figure out who they want to be. We can choose our names and change them over and over again. We get to find new names, and be proud of the old ones. We are all searching for who we want to be. Hello my name is Abigail Evans. What is your name?”
Salutatorian Samuel Lorow talked about the impact we all make in this world with his speech called “The Grander Things.”
“We realize we are part of a much greater universe. We are in this place, which is small place in the corner of a state. We are part of a universe that is constantly changing and growing,” he said. “We are going to go through a lot of change ourselves. We need to ask ourselves what we see in ourselves.
“We will continue to make a big impact on people in our lives. Ever since we started out as kids in this school to becoming seniors in Dansville High we were helping each other,” Lorow continued. “As we go on into college we will end up making a bigger impact on our world. We could go out and cure some disease such as ebola. We could go out and fight for our freedom. No matter what we become we will make an impact on our world.”
The Class of 2018 gift this year was to give the rest of the money they had accumulated (about $900) to Nicholas Rosica to hand to the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center in memory of his mother.
The Dansville Class of 2018 are the following; Emily Adams, Michael Adams, Abigail Alford, Makayla Alford, Bryan Allen, Gabrielle Anderson, Timothy Anderson, Isaiah Baer, James Bell, Brittany Bettis, Victoria Blackmon, AlyssaMarie Bowser, Emily Brushafer, Skylar Butters, Hunter Camacho, Meghan Campbell, Tristen Carr, Dorel Cartwright, Jason Chase, Pamela Chase, Hunter Collins, Madeline Cottone, Hunter Court, Rilee Crandall, Antonio Daniels, Tyler Deuel, Hope Didas, Makayla Donohue, David Donovan, Zachary Douglas, Zachary DuBois, Cody Dudek, Dylan Duffy, Maxwell Eckerson, Madisun Edmond, Abigail Evans, Michael Forrester, Zachary Garrison, Coyote Gilmer, Kelilah Gonzalez, Justin Green, Baylie Harnish, Christopher Henry, Theresa Hensler, Victoria Henson, Matthew Hilligus, Kevin Hooks, Destiny Horesog, Jesse Ikker, Grace Jacobs, Daniel Kaszuba, Olivia Kling, Stephanie Knudsen, Shea Kozak, Andrew LeBar, Kieran Liles-McAllister, Hunter Little, Samuel Lorow, Mason Mahany, Neena Markle, Emily Mehlenbacher, Caleb Miller, Misty Miller, Kaitlyn Monroe, Ashlee Moore, Skyler Mott, Franklin Mountzouros, Tia Mountzouros, Abdullah Muhammad, Magi Nickerson, Emily O’Connor, Bailey Parbsslawson, Travis Patterson, Brandon Phearsdorf, Tanner Poplawski, Anna Qiu, Ciara Quibell, Tyler Rapp, Gabrielle Rettberg, Kevin Roelle, Nicholas Rosica, Brandon Schledorn, Ashlyn Schuster, Masin Schuster, Nicholas Serafine, Talon Sherry, Ryan Skelly, Nickolas Swain, Kevin Tatu, Marisa Townsend, Mackenzie Tucker, Jacob Wadsworth, Shawn Wagner, Katherine Warner, Meghan Waters, Grace Wearkley, Seth Weaver, Colin Werth, Brandon Wint, Colton Woollett, and Cyrus Young.