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Lake Placid High School graduates 37 students

Lake Placid High School Valedictorian Harley Cohen brings a rose to a loved one at LPHS graduation on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

LAKE PLACID — Thirty-seven students graduated from Lake Placid High School on Friday night during an occasionally rainy ceremony that emphasized individuality, curiosity and hometown pride.

“Class of 2024, you have been called many things throughout your career here, but today I call you triumphant,” said LPHS Principal Theresa Lindsay. “You have shown us all that labels do not define us, our actions do. You have proven that determination, hard work and a supportive community can turn any situation around. You have achieved academic success, excelled in extracurricular activities and most importantly, you have grown into compassionate, thoughtful young adults ready to take on the world.”

Lindsay congratulated the class for receiving more than $112,000 in scholarship money, and thanked class advisors Patty Mayberry and Rebecca Thomsen for four years of hard work.

“Your future is waiting for you, and it is bright,” Lindsay said. “We will always be here waiting to hear about your adventures. It is time to spread your wings and not just fly, but soar.”

Salutatorian Jesse Marshall echoed Lindsay’s sentiments of support.

Gabriel Guerrero Ruiz hugs teacher Rhiannon Adsit at Lake Placid High School graduation on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

“We’ve welcomed new faces into our grade, as well as we’ve said goodbye to old ones. We have always been there for each other. You have always been there for me,” he said. “Even though these 13 years are coming to a close, I will always be here for you, and that goes to anyone listening in the audience.”

The Class of 2024 would later take a moment of silence to honor those faces they said goodbye to, with Rhys Gadwaw and Kyle Preston placing white roses on the diploma table to honor the memories of their friends Jonah Whiting and Lucas Tendler. Both boys died last summer as a result of injuries sustained in a June 30, 2023 car crash.

In his speech, Marshall highlighted the Class of 2024’s achievements, misadventures and memories.

“We used to be the class that teachers would warn new students about. Now look at us — we got first place in sportsmanship for Winter Carnival. Not to mention, we simmered down the juniors and were finally awarded the highest honor of all: winning Winter Carnival,” Marshall said. “Albeit, we were also the first class to ever lose to the teachers in dodgeball.”

At this remark, a cheer rippled through the faculty section of the audience.

Kyle Preston, left, and Rhys Gadwaw place white roses on the diploma table at Lake Placid High School’s graduation ceremony Friday to honor their friends Jonah Whiting and Lucas Tendler, who both died in a car crash last summer. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

“I just keep telling people that we lost because we wanted to be remembered forever,” Marshall added.

Marshall shared a story about when he asked his sister to accompany him to prom with the help of his friends Josh Taylor and Aidan Fay, embarrassing his sister in the middle of her lunch period.

“Now, despite what you may be thinking, I do have a point here. … I want you to be yourself. Don’t fear what others think about you — just have fun. Most people are so worried about sticking to the strict and unforgiving social norms that they miss out on truly living life,” Marshall said. “Why should we stifle our dreams because they are different? When I look back on my life, I would much rather be embarrassed than wonder what could’ve been.”

At the end of his speech, Marshall offered a prayer for his graduating class. In the fall, he’ll be attending Momentum Leadership School, a Christian gap year program in Massena, before returning to the Tri-Lakes to attend North Country Community College and Paul Smith’s College.

A group of nine other students then joined Marshall onstage to sing “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane under the direction of LPHS vocal music teacher Taylor Prosper.

A set of balloons celebrating the Class of 2024 is seen at Lake Placid High School’s graduation ceremony on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

In her address, valedictorian Harley Cohen encouraged her fellow graduates to follow their dreams — even if their dreams take them away from home. In the fall, she’ll be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“This place that we have called home for so many years has served as a garden nursery that has allowed us to grow and flourish,” she said. “It is important to recognize and appreciate this environment, which fosters a sense of individuality and independence. However, I still encourage you all to take that leap to someplace new, not only to explore the world around us, but to learn about the vastly different lives that people live.”

Cohen said that, as her classmates go into the world, they should stay curious and keep asking questions. Having won an award in band class for asking the most questions — an honor she questioned initially, she said — Cohen believes there is no such thing as a dumb question. She also believes that grades aren’t everything.

“If there is one message I could leave everyone here with, it is to not allow your achievements, whether they be your job or your grades in school, to define your self-worth. This is not to say that one should be careless, but having good grades or getting a promotion does not make you a better person,” she said. “Instead, discovering self-worth comes from the ways you influence the lives of others around you.”

Expressing similar sentiments to Lindsay’s and Marshall’s, Cohen reminded her class that home will always be here waiting for them, no matter how far they travel.

Lake Placid Middle-High School Principal Theresa Lindsay addresses the 37-member Class of 2024. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

“I have to remember that this familiarity will always be waiting for me each time I return home,” she said.

The commencement address was delivered by Marcy Miller, a 1996 graduate of LPHS and the founder and CEO of Pure Placid. She congratulated the Class of 2024 on overcoming adversity throughout their high school careers, which began in 2020.

“I hope you know that what you have accomplished is monumental. Not only did you get through high school, which is really hard in itself, but you guys did it through COVID, with masks and distance learning and all that uncertainty,” she said. “Not only did you survive it, but you thrived afterwards.”

Miller said that the lessons she learned as a student at LPHS and growing up in Lake Placid have made a big impact on her adult life and her career as a business owner.

“My foundation for success was deeply rooted in the values I learned right there in Lake Placid. Growing up in this close-knit community, I was surrounded by people who embodied hard work, resilience and a deep appreciation for nature and each other.”

Lake Placid High School Class of 2024 Salutatorian Jesse Marshall delivers his salutatory address at LPHS graduation on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

She urged the Class of 2024 to take pride and comfort in their hometown as they begin the rest of their lives.

“What you learned here in Lake Placid, in this school, will be with you forever. Be proud of this town. Be proud of where you came from, and carry those values with you everywhere,” Miller said. “Never underestimate the strength and inspiration that you can draw from your roots.”

Marcy Miller, Lake Placid High School graduate and owner of Pure Placid, delivers the commencement address at LPHS's graduation ceremony Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education President Dan Cash hugs his son, Ethan, before presenting him with his diploma on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

Rebecca Thomsen, left, and Patty Mayberry, Lake Placid High School’s Class of 2024 advisors, watch their sons, Owen Thomsen and Henry and Jacob Mayberry, walk across the stage and receive their diplomas on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

Lake Placid High School's Class of 2024 toss their caps in the air after graduating on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

From left, Emily Kostoss, Sydney Garrison, Nadia Phillip, Owen Thomsen and Jesse Marshall sing the LPHS alma mater. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

Lake Placid High School Class of 2024 Valedictorian Harley Cohen smiles at the LPHS graduation ceremony on Friday. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

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