Canfield grads learn life lessons



Speakers encouraged the
graduates to dream big,
pursue those dreams and still savor the moment.

CANFIELD — Two by two — boys in black, girls in red — the Canfield High School graduating class of 2007 filed onto the school’s football field for the last time as a group Sunday afternoon, to say goodbye and hello.

“We’re saying farewell to a school and a community,” said class president Justin Bonanno. “But we’re saying hello to the world.”

Under a sunny blue sky, and with the bright green turf of the football field as their backdrop, the young men and women heard speeches that quoted people including famed children’s author Dr. Seuss, comedian Larry the Cable Guy, and author and humorist Mark Twain.

‘The best darn kids’

Dr. Abby H. Barone, high school principal, said the class has the distinction of being the first to secure a state championship in baseball. She said many among the nearly 250 graduates had been honored for their academic achievements, and that 10 pupils had attained Eagle Scout status in the Boy Scouts during their high school careers.

“They are the best darn kids in the entire state of Ohio,” Barone said.

Then, after all the accolades and superlatives had been handed out, the graduates rose, turned their tassels, and at the same time turned the corner from being high school pupils to high school graduates with the world at their feet.

“If there’s one last lesson that we can learn before going out into the real world, let it be this,” co-valedictorian Lauren Dalvin told her classmates: “Cherish the moment.”

Remarks and speeches

Dalvin’s was one of five speeches delivered during the commencement ceremony. The others were by co-valedictorians Ryan Bresson, Sara Beth Serbin and Marek Slipski, and by Anne E. Davis of Canfield, who was the featured speaker. Davis, a 1972 CHS graduate, is a Spanish and English teacher at Howland High School.

Superintendent Dante J. Zambrini said the school district traditionally invites a successful CHS graduate to return each year and deliver the commencement address.

All the remarks were aimed at encouraging the graduates to set high goals for themselves and work hard to achieve those goals while striving at the same time to maintain their individuality.

“Always be yourself,” Serbin said. “It takes courage to stand up for what you believe when everyone else thinks differently.”

And Slipski said that although Sunday’s ceremony marked the graduates’ departure from Canfield High School, it was not the end of their educational trail.

“Never in our lives will we graduate from learning,” he said, challenging his fellow graduates to always challenge conventional wisdom and learn things for themselves.

Life lessons and tips

Davis, a mother of three CHS graduates, spoke about what to take along and what to leave behind as the graduates prepare for life after high school. The “leave-behind list” included the pupils’ preconceived ideas and notions about people and life, and all their excuses.

“Realize that you’ll be leaving home, and things will be different,” she said. “Whether you’re at college or at a job, if you don’t get it done, nobody will want to hear your excuses.”

She encouraged the graduates to take along a love of learning, as well as a sense of humor and flexibility, keeping them open to new ideas on their journey through life.

“There are many ways to accomplish a task, and your way may not always be the best,” she said.

She finished by telling the graduates to “throw in a sense of wonder and joy,” and to cling to hope and a belief in a higher power.

“I find joy in so many of life’s experiences, whether they belong to me or to others,” she said.

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