Caps off to the class of 2016

Graduation ceremony filled with memories, inspiration and laughter

Click for photo album

As the 133 graduating seniors from RCS’ Class of 2016 sat together for the last time during Saturday’s graduation ceremony at the Albany Convention Center, they were regaled with stories from their time at RCS and inspired with words of wisdom.

“Do not be afraid to blaze a new path, face your fear or persevere past an obstacle,” Superintendent Robert Libby said to the graduates. “There will be many, small and large, but in my short time here I have come to realize that the people who comprise our community are generally unfazed by a challenge and not afraid to take risks.”

The excitement was as the graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas. Thirty seniors crossed as members of the National Honor Society (NHS) three as members of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) and 34 donned RCS Hall of Fame (HOF) cords.

To be selected for NHS, candidates must first have a cumulative grade-point-average of 90 percent or higher and then be selected by members of a Faculty Council for meeting high standards of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. To be selected for NTHS students had to meet several criteria, including achieving grade-point-averages of 92 or greater at Career & Tech, an overall GPA of 85 or greater at their high schools and have five or fewer absences.

To become a HOF member, RCS seniors must meet three criteria: a grade-point-average of 85 percent or higher through the middle of senior year, five positive evaluations from RCS staff members and an accumulation of at least 17 extracurricular points earned from participating in activities as outlined in the Hall of Fame guidelines.

HOF cords were presented during the Senior Awards Night on June 2, along with more than 150 local scholarships and awards totaling $66,000 given to nearly 60 RCS seniors. These awards did not include individual scholarships received directly by students from colleges.

During Saturday’s graduation ceremony, High School Principal Tom DiAcetis asked seniors to raise their hands or stand to be recognized as he read out their accomplishments in academics, music, technology, service and more.

In her address, Valedictorian Natalie Spindler acknowledged high school as a stepping stone to better things, quoting Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Salutatorian Jessica Bianchi’s address was inspired by her experience during the senior trip to Great Escape earlier in June, connecting the ups and downs of riding the roller coasters with their journey through school and the leaps of faith and the thrill of the unknown with the journey they have ahead.

Assistant Superintendent Brian Bailey also pulled his inspiration from the senior trip, speaking off the cuff, allowing the students to do most of the talking for him through video clips he had collected of the seniors. In each clip, seniors answered questions about what they will miss most and what they will remember about RCS. Click here to see presentation.

As the ceremony drew to a close, RCS’s newest graduating class excitedly moved their tassels from right to left signifying their exit from high school and left these parting words for their younger classmates:

“Always do your best and work hard.”
“Work hard, nothing is ever given to you, you get what you work for.”
“Cherish the time that you have.”