Dusten Rader/Express staff
Hundreds of area residents gathered to witness a major milestone in the lives of 158 youth Saturday during Gloversville High School’s graduation ceremony.

Fulton County Express

GLOVERSVILLE — Hundreds of area residents gathered to witness a major milestone in the lives of 158 youth Saturday during Gloversville High School’s graduation ceremony.
The 140 annual commencement exercises included speeches by the valedictorian, salutatorian, former judge and class of 1966 graduate Vincent DeSantis, Principal Richard DeMallie, Superintendent Michael Vanyo, recognition of the top 10 students as well as performances by the school’s choir and bands.
Valedictorian Quentin Reynolds told the audience that he is going to college to study creative writing in hopes of someday being a writer. In his speech he used writing as a way to express his idea of life and the future.
“Life is twists and turns, conflicts and resolutions, major and minor characters, wins and losses — all the integral parts of a story,” Reynolds said. “Life is a story, and everyone is an author.
“As we come to the end of the prologues of our lives we have to decide what to do next,” he continued. “We’ve always had people to guide us, but it’s up to us to decide what to do now and when — it’s up to us to finish writing out stories.”
Salutatorian Rebecca Brown-Weinstock struck a personal note with her speech. She took an approach that singled out friends, family and teachers who impacted her on her path through school.
“I’m going to miss this place,” Brown-Weinstock said. “… I’ve become really nostalgic during these past week fews thinking about this place that has been my home for the past 13 years — and I got sad. … Yes, it is the end … the end of seeing your best friend every day, the end of seeing you all everyday — this is what I’m sad about.
“It is the little things that made our high school experience memorable,” she continued. “While I love all the big things, it is the little things that made me realize how much of an impact you’ve all made in my life — and for that I am truly grateful.”
Former judge and class of 1966 graduate Vincent DeSantis gave the commencement address. He spoke about light, and the distance it travels through space as well as the thin layer of life that exists on the space ship we call Earth. He said this should not discourage, but rather inspire because it shows how precious life is.
“The work of my generation is almost over,” DeSantis said. “But, it is my hope that in the next few years that I will play a role along with all of you in building a new Gloversville — more richer, sustainable and vibrant than it has ever been. The work of your generation is just beginning and you get to choose your path. … Remember this anonymous quote: ‘There are no passengers on space ship Earth — we are all crew.’”
Before presenting the diplomas, senior class officers were joined on stage by junior class officers for a presentation of the school flag to signify the graduation of the class of 2017 and the start of a new senior class.
DeMallie then took to the podium to honor the top 10 students. In addition, DeMallie also presented Samuel Poulin with the Principal’s Award, which he said is the highest honor a student could earn at GHS.
During his speech, DeMallie asked students to turn to their parents and say loud and with confidence that they are proud of every adult at the ceremony.
“I’m begging you to tell someone I’m proud of you today — specifically your parents,” DeMallie said. “Please say ‘I’m proud of you for keeping me safe … for always asking me tough questions and making me think about the choices … for staying by me even when I’m wrong.’ … Make the life choice today when it comes to providing praise to never think I will have time to because one day you will say ‘I thought I had time, I wish I had time for it.’”
Superintendent Michael Vanyo wrapped up the ceremony with closing remarks by pointing out how much time people spend doing things throughout their lives, such as sleeping for 25 years, working for 10, 6 eating, 4 driving, 9 watching television, 2 in the bathroom, which leaves 18 year olds 5 years to plan what they want to do.
“Our goal while you were in school was to build a foundation, set a pathway, let you use those skills you learned in class so that you can lead to a successful career in the future,” Vanyo said. “Today is the first day you will be truly fully independent. … Everything you do will be up to you from now on — it will not be easy. … Good luck and farewell. Thank you all and congratulations.”