Bell tolls one last time for Forestville grads

FORESTVILLE – For Forestville graduates senior year ended as it began – with the traditional ringing of the old school bell.

Dressed in yellow and black, 47 graduates walked across the stage in Forestville High School’s auditorium Saturday.

High School Principal Patrick Moses remarked on the occasion, calling graduation both an ending and a beginning and a time full of intense emotions.

Moses said graduation is a special day where families are filled with pride and graduates are filled with gratitude for those who helped get them there.

Salutatorian Elizabeth Gilman said the senior class campout was when she realized the end of high school was fast approaching. She also reflected on times at school and advised her classmates not to take the little things for granted.

“Be happy, no matter where life takes you. Savor the small moments, the little things. … There is always a reason to carry on. If one door closes, check the windows. If those are shut too, well then just tear down the whole wall,” she said.

Gilman, who decorated her hat with the symbol of the Deathly Hallows and the saying, “Mischief Managed,” from the Harry Potter series, closed her speech with a quote from Professor Albus Dumbledore.

“If all else fails remember the words of one wise, old professor, ‘Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light,'” she added.

Commencement speaker and Forestville alumna Laurie Becker said at first she thought the speaker at graduation should be someone famous or with a unique career, but on second thought decided who could be better than a teacher who has seen the students for most of their high school careers?

As s Spanish teacher for the district, she began her speech by wishing graduates “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon). She said her speech was inspired by class night, when students thanked those who helped them get to graduation and displayed many good qualities and life lessons learned.

She said she was also inspired by the speech she was asked to give for her 25th class reunion, which incorporated songs relevant to the Class of 1987 into a cohesive piece of advice. She did the same with songs relevant to the Class of 2014.

“‘Am I wrong’ to say ‘It’s Time’ to ‘Shine Bright Like a Diamond.’ ‘Believe me,’ it’s ‘Not a Bad Thing’ to be ‘Happy’ and let those ‘Laughter Lines’ show. ‘Dare’ to ‘Take a Little Ride’ along the ‘Riverbank’ and see what ‘Trophies’ you can find on ‘The Other Side,’ ‘Over the Rainbow.’ ‘Sure be cool if you did.’ I hope you feel on ‘Top of the World’ and that the ‘Tattoos on this Town’ ‘Can’t Hold Us’ from ‘Counting Stars.’ Now, ‘Some Nights’ ‘It Will Rain.’ You will want to ‘Scream and Shout’ and ‘Roar’ at the ‘Demons’ and wish to go ‘Home’ for ‘Clarity.’ But, ‘Stay’ and be ‘Brave’ and ‘Carry On.’ ‘Take care’ when you’re a ‘Simple Man’ ‘Lettin’ the night roll.’ Try to be ‘Safe and Sound.’ ‘Don’t forget’ to sing and ‘Get Your Shine On’ because ‘You da one’ ‘Where it’s at.’ Hope you’ve had a ‘Good Time.’ ‘That’s my kind of night.’

Valedictorian Emma Smith focused her speech on perspective and the true meaning of success.

She said no matter their view of the last four years, she hopes he classmates begin this new chapter with a clean slate.

She continued to say every person’s success is different and happiness should be a goal.

“I hope that everyone sitting beside me today will strive for success in their future endeavors. However, I know that each of our successes will be in completely different forms. … If you are happy and love what you do, then in my eyes, you have succeeded. Some may say I am successful by being valedictorian, but in all honesty this is just one honor and after today I will receive no special treatment just because of it. After today we are all on an even playing field waiting to start the pursuit of our true passions,” she said.

Graduates filed along the stage to receive their diplomas, but there was one diploma given, that was special. Parents of Cassandra Knoop, James Knoop and Crystaline DeVlieger, accepted a diploma in memory of their daughter, who died unexpectedly earlier in the year.

Diplomas in hand, the graduates headed outside to release balloons.

Then, class officers and student council members took their places around the old school bell one last time to ring in a new chapter in their lives.