RIPLEY - Seven simple thoughts.
That was the advice from Ripley Central School Board of Education President Robert J. Bentley to the graduating Class of 2012 on Saturday, June 23.
Bentley said every person he has met has influenced him - some positive, some negative, some with qualities for him to retain, some with qualities for him to reject.
Class officers of the graduating Class of 2012 at Ripley Central School, from left to right, are President Adam Fisher, Vice President Anthony Meredith, Secretary Samantha Kozlowski and Treasurer Sawyer Tessmer.
His seven thoughts were these: realize more will be learned from failures than successes; be humble with success as God can take away tomorrow what God has given today; as life evolves, take time to reflect through the eyes of a 5-year-old, which may be the perspective needed; the life being lived could be the greatest family tradition; forgive those who have done wrong as forgiveness is not a reward which must be earned, but rather a gift to be given; every minute of every hour of every day, the smallest decisions ultimately and collectively affect the infinite proportion of life; and choose your friends wisely as an individual is who they congregate with.
In his speech, Valedictorian Zachary Mota said he realized the process of writing it paralleled his life, particularly his senior year. The first moment was when he was told he could write about whatever he wanted, no longer having assignments spelled out for him. Another was the encouragement and guidance from adults to help him get it done. Finally, it was that procrastination has led to some of his best work.
"Even though Ripley and it's students get a lot of heat from other places about our rural reputation, they can't say that we're not doers, fighters, and winners," Mota said. "We've shown ourselves to be all of those things after these long four years. ... There are those of you who I have not explicitly mentioned, but all of you that I've gone through this with have my thanks for helping me get through this roller coaster ride of learning."
Salutatorian Samantha Gardner chose to speak from her heart with words of encouragement. She thanked her family for its support, her neighbor for making her feel better about herself and her future, her teachers and her classmates.
"You all have made an impression on me at some point in the past 10 years," she said of the Class of 2012. "The bond that we've formed will always be remembered. We've ended a chapter in our lives together but writing a new one on our own after today. ... In 10 years, I hope to see everyone doing something that they are passionate about."
She closed her speech by wishing her classmates the best of luck with their futures.
Ripley Superintendent Karen D. Krause read the poem, "The Courage to Lead" by an unknown author to inspire the graduates.