ORLEANS – “Move forward – the only direction. Can’t be scared to fail – search and perfection.”
Those were the words Lake Region Union High School Senior Tyler Vezina brought to his fellow graduates Sunday. He was quoting Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter.
Darren Perron, a 1991 Lake Region Graduate and WCAX-TV anchor, introduced Vezina, who did an internship at the television station and presented this year’s student address. Vezina called himself a regular guy who is good at public speaking. He told the class that graduation is the end of many things.
“When everything is your last, it just seems so much more meaningful,” Vezina said. “Every footstep means something.”
For some, Lake Region was a prison; for others, it was a second home, Vezina said.
“It’s like we’re all a family, but I don’t think of this as a final goodbye,” he said. “I think it’s our first real 'see you later.'”
Matthew Lyon told his fellow classmates that they played a large role in his high school career. He ended up senior class president. He asked the class to remember four words: "Live, goals, love, and dreams."
“You have to live your goals,” he explained. “As long as you live them, you’ll eventually achieve those desires. Also, love your dreams. When you love your dreams, a new goal will be created for you to live.”
Well-liked teacher Rick Kelly presented his speech similar to the way students heard morning announcements over the school’s television system. Kelly brought some good advice to the students, including living within a budget.
Kelly spoke about how he dropped out of college but returned to education so he could become a teacher. During his college career, Kelly learned he was capable of far more than he ever demonstrated in the past and finally valued the education he previously took for granted.
“I missed a lot that I now wish I hadn't,” said Kelly.
Prior to Principal Andre Messier’s speech, Taylor Hick’s "Do I Make You Proud" blared from loud speakers as each senior presented a single white rose to someone he or she felt helped along the way to graduation.
Some students presented their flowers to parents, friends and teachers. Each person who received a flower sat down with a slight smile and a few tears.
Messier said he wasn’t happy when someone on a national radio program stated that earning a high school diploma and college degree were things that were overrated and should not be celebrated. Messier said he believes earning a diploma is critical for future options. It should possess value, should be recognized and it should be celebrated.
“The key word in all of these beliefs is the word 'earn,'” said Messier, who had praise for the students who met new standards. The students, he said, earned national recognition. “US News and World Report says you guys are seventh best in the state, better than 93 percent of the public high schools in the country. Not too shabby."
Speaking to the seniors, Messier said, “I believe you are ready and you are prepared.”