Pawling High School Holds 69th Commencement Ceremony

Over the past week, the Pawling High School seniors enjoyed their last days of high school, including the traditional Senior Walk through the halls of Pawling Elementary on June 24. The following evening, more than thirty students were honored at the annual Senior Scholarship and Awards Night, where they were recipients of more than $100,000 in scholarships. With all of their exams and work completed, the only task left was to don their caps and gowns and bid one final farewell to PHS.

On Wednesday, June 26, the Pawling Central School District proudly held the commencement for the Pawling High School Class of 2019. In total, 88 students graduated, each one ready to leave PHS behind and enter into the next phase of their lives.

The evening would feature a rendition of the school’s alma mater by the PHS Chorus, as well as a performance of Moon River by the High School Band, and a choral interlude of From Now On. Class President Brett Giannantonio would present the class gift, a donation of funds which will contribute towards the eventual purchase of an electronic sign to be constructed outside of PHS.

Keeping with tradition, the top two students from the graduating class would address the crowd of family and friends, beginning with Salutatorian Sean Walsh. Mr. Walsh would draw inspiration from popular culture when addressing his fellow classmates, and offered words of hope and encouragement. “I’d like to congratulate all the graduates. We’ve spent twelve years working hard, studying, and all that jazz,” said Walsh. “I don’t really know how we got here. I guess life, uh, finds a way. He would go on to quote from The Lion King, urging his fellow classmates to have no worries, and embrace a problem-free philosophy. “Not matter what happens, we’ll be ok. If you promise to let us do our thing, we’ll never give you up, and we’ll never let you down,” said Walsh.

Next, attendants would hear an address from Valedictorian Brigid Barrick, who achieved the highest GPA of any student in Pawling High School History. “Nobody here got to where they are today by themselves,” said Ms. Barrick. “We got here from the support of the faculty, our teachers, our families, and each other. I know everyone up here today has memories of a time when they wanted to give up, but someone else in this room encouraged them to keep going.” She would conclude by looking to the future while also considering the memories made at Pawling High School. “Now, we get more control over what paths we take, and who we become. Today’s ceremony may mark the end of our time here, but it doesn’t take away from it. Graduation is so much more than a word or a day. It’s proof of perseverance and strength. It’s a feeling of gratitude, and a sense of satisfaction. So goodbye, and thank you for an amazing four years. We might be heading in different directions, but we’ll always have our time here.”

The students would be given the Graduation Certification from Superintendent Bill Ward before receiving their diplomas and turning their tassels, officially making each one a Pawling High School graduate.

Before the graduates departed, Pawling High School Principal Helen Callan would offer a few parting remarks for the Class of 2019. “It is time for you to leave and experience all that life has to offer,” she said. “Its time for each of you to take the next step and shape the person that you will become. Now is the time to take a breath and say goodbye. Goodbye to each other, goodbye to the school where you have spent the last four years, goodbye to beloved teachers and mentors, goodbye to the Pawling High School Class of 2019. I know I speak for everyone in this room when I say that I wish you all congratulations on a job well done, joy and happiness in all your future journeys, and we wish you much success in your plans after graduation. Strive to always do your best. No one can expect more.”