By CRISTINE MEIXNER
WELLS - A perfect summer day led to a delightful graduation ceremony at Wells Central School Saturday when 17 seniors were feted and sent into adulthood.
Salutatorian James Hoffman spoke about success and what it means to him before challenging his classmates to, "Be sincere with everything you do."
A video started with the seniors' yearbook photos to "Time Of Your Life" by Green Day, then moved on to photos of classes, clubs, sports teams and events to Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow." "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall and Oates accompanied candid shots, prom and senior trip photos.
The video ended with "a huge thank you to [teacher] Mr. [Ed] Pruden for making this happen."
Attendance Clerk / Guidance Secretary Deborah Taylor, who is retiring at the end of the month, gave the commencement address. After telling of her observations over the years, she advised, "Keep your own identities and follow your own path ... you make your own destiny... Keep your friends from Wells Central School as you make new ones."
After speaking of what she finds special about each graduate, Taylor continued her habit of passing out chocolate chip cookies by handing each graduate one for the last time as her song for them, "These Are the Special Times" by Celine Dion, played.
Valedictorian Brittany Woodward told her classmates, "Appreciate your friends and family... and make sure you do go after your dreams... while you're out exploring don't forget the people who got you there."
Junior Jessica Rhodes ended the farewell address with, "May all your dreams come true in one way or another."
Superintendent Thomas Sincavage said high school graduation is a great milestone. "Work hard. Learn from your mistakes... commit yourselves to becoming life-long learners... the possibilities are endless. Go for it."
Wells Teachers' Association Award: Jacob Boni
Wayne and Guy Smith Award: Steven Mayer
Wells United Methodist Church scholarships: Sabrina Bartholf, Jacob Earley and James Hoffman.
Matty J. Rajca Scholarship: Bobbi-Jo Page.
Wells Improvement Group Award: Jacob Boni and James Hoffman.
Norman McGrattan Scholarship: Brittany Woodward.
PIE Scholarship Award: Jake Earley and James Hoffman.
Speculator Lions Club Award: Steven Mayer.
American Legion Post 1565 Award: Caleb Hayes.
Support Staff Association Award: Jared Jennings.
CSEA Local 431 Arthur Graham Memorial Scholarship: Sabrina Bartholf.
Jodi Lee MacHattie Memorial Scholarship: Jacob Boni.
Muhlenbruch Foundation scholarships: Jacob Boni, James Hoffman, Christa Stuart, Kayla Warner.
Fulton Montgomery Community College Foundation Scholarship: Jared Jennings.
NYS Comptroller's Certificate: Jacob Boni.
VFW's Voice of Democracy Scholarship Contest winner: Jacob Boni.
John Brewer Scholarship Award: Caleb Hayes.
Crary Education Foundation scholarships: James Hoffman, Christa Stuart and Jacob Boni.
SADD Award: James Hoffman.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women's Consortium Award: Sabrina Bartholf.
Betty Wight Memorial Award: Bobbi-Jo Page.
Principal's Award: Blaine Elmendorf.
NYS Scholarship for Academic Excellence: Jacob Boni ($1,500) and Steven Mayer ($500).
Charlie Wight Memorial Award: James Hoffman.
Hiram Craig Award: James Hoffman.
Red Cross Scholarship: James Hoffman.
Adirondack Community Trust Scholarship (George and Doris Sherman):
Hamilton County TWIGS Scholarship: Jacob Boni.
Speculator, Piseco Fish and Game Club Award: Jacob Boni.
C.J. Insogna Memorial Scholarship Award: Ricky Maloney.
Sienna College Presidential Scholarship: Jacob Boni.
Service Award: Parris Beach.
AWARDS TO JUNORS
University of Rochester Bausch & Lomb Science Award: Matt Michienzi.
Frederick Douglass / Susan B. Anthony Award: Sean O'Connnor.
George Eastman Young Leaders Award: Jessica Rhodes.
Discus Scholarship Award: Matthew Michienzi.
Firemen's Association of the State of New York Award: Steven Tomlinson.