June 23, 2018
How do you measure a year?
“525,600 minutes,” belted Dr. Michele Downing, breaking from addressing the Class of 2018 at Amsterdam High School’s 210th Commencement ceremony. Downing has been interim principal of the high school and is also assistant superintendent.
Beside her, the senior AHS choir appeared, helping her finish the famous Rent tune, “Seasons of Love.” A special staff choir also joined in, much to the audience’s surprise.
“Yep, that’s right,” Downing laughed along with a packed gymnasium. “This former math teacher just stepped out of her comfort zone.”
Downing calculated that, assuming a student retires at 65, he or she will have worked more than 5.2 million minutes or 86,400 hours.
“Think about it,” she said. “Can you imagine spending 86,400 hours doing something you are not passionate about?”
Two-hundred-and-twenty-six students would turn their tassels that morning.
“Look around you for unexpected opportunity, and focus on what matters to you personally,” Valedictorian Molly Monge told her peers. “Opportunities will not come to those who do not seek. I challenge you to carefully examine your world and your surroundings to see just how you can make a difference, how you can work towards your dreams, and how you can lead a more successful life. We all have the free will to push ourselves a little bit further, to be a little kinder, and to reach out to others.”
Superintendent Dr. Vicky Ramos, Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Board of Education President Nellie Bush also addressed the students and senior class president Kelsey Bogdan presented the senior class gift. The class presented the school with a plaque for the podium and new benches for the courtyard.
Senior chorus members performed “A Million Dreams.”