FREWSBURG - Frewsburg students are waking up this morning to a new day and a new chapter in their lives.
Frewsburg held its commencement for the graduating class of 2014 on Friday in the Frewsburg High School auditorium.
Giving the commencement address was Lindsay Marzec, a Frewsburg English teacher who has been teaching the graduating class since they were in eighth grade. Marzec is a graduate of Jamestown High School, and received her associate degree from Jamestown Community College, her bachelor's degree from SUNY Fredonia in English, and her master's degree from Gannon University in curriculum and instruction. She has been teaching in Frewsburg since 2004, where she has served as the English department chair and advisor for the school newspaper.
Derek Smith, Frewsburg senior class president, addresses his fellow graduates during Friday’s commencement ceremony.
Photo by Gavin Mead
In her address, Marzec drew on the close relationship she has formed with the class in the five years she has served as their teacher, highlighting the distinct characteristics that defined the personality of this particular group of students.
"Yes, I too was part of a class whose reputation preceded them, a class whose intelligence was sometimes overshadowed by their rebelliousness," Marzec said. "Your boldness is what set you apart from the rest. The next step is using those attributes that set you apart to better yourself and to better the world."
Marzec offered as advice to her students the same advice offered by Polonious to his college-bound son in Shakespeare's Hamlet: "To thine own self be true."
"You all can improve the world just by being true to yourselves," Marzec said. "I hope you will remember how important you are in deciding your own futures."
Morgan Scarpino, salutatorian, also spoke about the challenges facing the graduates as they will attempt to define themselves following life after high school.
"Up until this point, our whole lives have revolved around school, school events, and the friends that we've made at school," Scarpino said. "But now, we are moving on and starting a new chapter in our lives. I am so glad that I got to grow up with this group of people and I will never forget the times that we've had."
Also delivering an address was Derek Smith, senior class president, who shared memories from his time at Frewsburg and thanked the school faculty and staff for their years of support and guidance.
Over 40 scholarships and awards were presented to the graduates, many of them given by community organizations and families.
Larry Gauger, president of the Board of Education, presented the graduates with their diplomas.
Final remarks were given by Jesse Ernewein, valedictorian, who added to the literary spirit of the proceedings by comparing the graduates' many years of attending school together to the heroic adventures of Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, who was forced to embrace the many struggles he faced in order to overcome them.
"Embrace the good times, the fun times," Erenewein said. "But also embrace the hard times; don't walk away from them."
The Frewsburg Senior Band, led by Alicia Laska, contributed music for the ceremony.