By Jennifer L. Warren
TOWN OF FISHKILL – Marissa Mourgues got personal in her Salutatorian Speech. However, her words of wisdom resonated with universal appeal as well as a warm reception from the large crowd at Dutchess Stadium Saturday morning.
Alluding to her quest for perfection, whether it grades, sports or even body image, the Beacon High School senior, Mourgues, revealed her challenging four month ordeal with an eating disorder. Facing her issues head on and prevailing, she relayed the priceless lessons she mined from her life-changing senior year journey.
“Your worth is not based on numbers – appearance, sports and grades; you can’t spend your life comparing yourself to others,” affirmed Morgues. “We need to stop criticizing ourselves because imperfection is part of being human, and it’s your own self worth-your beliefs and values-that really matter.”
Those powerful messages were heard loudly by Mourgues’ over 200 fellow graduates, making up the Beacon High School Class of 2019. Of that group, 48 earned local awards and scholarships, 71 plan on pursuing post-secondary education-at colleges, universities, a prep school and a learning center. Still others will immediately enter the work force or military.
Regardless of their future paths, the BHS Class of 2019 will be fondly remembered for its close knit relationships with one another and the faculty as well as an array of bonds that is likely to forge them together for a lifetime. It’s those very connections that Valedictorian, Madelyn Correllus, emphasized in her speech.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned here at Beacon High School is you can’t measure things by grades, but by the memories that are made together,” said Correllus. “Hold on to those high school memories, but also be ready to make many more.”
Also offering words at the Commencement was School Superintendent, Dr.Matthew Landahl, who initiated his talk with having the proud distinction of making it to a second year at the position. He further incited laughter when he mentioned how he rehearsed his speech to his seven year old son, whose advice was to keep it short. Following suit, Dr. Landahl stressed how over the many years he has been involved with the interviewing and hiring processes, he continues to look for three key qualities: being kind, hardworking and always learning in candidates. “To the graduates, I ask you to do the same,” said Dr. Landahl.
In addition to a host of people making remarks during the two hour ceremony, there was an Operation Recognition segment, awarding diplomas to four United States Army and Navy veterans who served in Vietnam and the Gulf War, musical interludes performed by the Beacon High School Chorus as well as Beacon-based world-acclaimed drummer, Jeff Haynes, who played alongside some students, and whose son Oji was among one of the Class of 2019 graduates.
Another of the student speakers was Class President, Sierra Shield, who titled her high school journey, “The never-ending adventure.” Affirming how she was bound to get emotional, Shield also referred to the day’s Commencement as a “Day of Nostalgia.”
“Life is about moments like these and pep rallies, screaming down the hallway, losing Sectionals and many other things,” said Shield. “We may not always remember all the things about that moment, but we will remember how they made us feel and who we were with, and all of it adds up to life.”