Advice to graduates: don’t pile up debt, work hard, be kind

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 July 2020 at 2:15 pm

Orleans Hub readers share wisdom with Class of 2020

Photos by Tom Rivers: The 51 members in Kendall’s Class of 2020 walk towards the firemen’s grounds for commencement on June 26. Graduation was held outside with families and friends watching from their vehicles.

There are 422 graduates in the Class of 2020 from the five public school districts in Orleans County.

Last week Orleans Hub asked readers if they had any advice for graduates. We posed the question on our Facebook page. We received more than 100 comments from the community.

Here are some of the words of wisdom shared by Orleans Hub readers:

Jocelyn Cutler smiles with her diploma during one of three graduation ceremonies celebrated at Vets Park in Medina on June 26. With attendance capped by the state at 150, Medina split the class of 110 into three groups.

Brody Hoffmeister: “I’d say to the class of 2020 that this unprecedented time represents how life truly is.. a rollercoaster outside of school. Just when you think everything is going as planned and your goals are within reach sometimes you are thrown a totally different direction and it’s sometimes completely 100 percent out of your control. Character is built through adversity, not when everything is great. As a business owner in Medina, my advice to you is to find an occupation that you LOVE getting up everyday and doing and strive to become the best at it. Stay humble in your beginnings, treat others with respect and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day! Congratulations to the Class of 2020!”

Rick Majeski: “It’s been a difficult year. Obstacles have been thrown at you. Don’t let them distract you from your goals. This is a temporary obstruction to your success of making the world a better place

“Stay focused on the goal you’ve set, and then go get it. Don’t let this little distraction stop you from becoming a great influence in the world we live in.”

Jennifer Martin: “You were created for such a time as this. Stay focused on what is important. Make decisions carefully. Be kind. Use your time wisely. Live with honor, love, and respect.”

Chelsey Vick: “Slow down and really take in the small moments. Never give up on what you want and most of all don’t forget to live!”

Amanda LeClair: “Don’t let this year of disappointments change your outlook on life. Always look for the silver lining. Life is hard and unfair but how you handle it makes a difference!”

Riley Seielstad: “Meet as many people from as many different backgrounds as you can. Listen to them about their past and teach them about yours. Love everyone, especially when it is hard to do so. Learn all viewpoints of every subject and don’t be afraid to change your opinion when you are presented with new information! Work hard, but take risks and go on adventures because those are the moments you remember most.”

Mark Thomas, a Holley middle and high school English teacher, helps organize this group of graduates during the June 27 commencement. There were 81 students in Holley’s Class of 2020. The district held graduation with a drive-in ceremony in the high school parking lot.

Cary Swanger Yaeger: “Find your passion and go for it. If you do what you love, it won’t seem like work!! Be prepared to work hard but don’t knock others down to get there. You’ll find out who your real friends are when the setbacks happen. Cling tight to them, they’re the ones who’ll help you do great! Congratulations Class of 2020!!”

Wendy Birkett-Riegel: “Be kind, remember who you are and where you came from. Don’t let anyone tell you taht you can’t do it. And the best piece of advice I was ever given, never talk politics, religion or money with your friends, because those three subjects no one can ever agree on!!! Congratulations!!!!”

Sharon Lampo: “Always have a backup plan, and backup skills. Be kind, be respectful and listen to your elders. We didn’t get here without advice from ours.”

Rose Allard: “Be true to yourself. It’s great to experiment and explore, but don’t lose track of your values and who you are inside. Don’t be easily influenced or try to be something in order to please others know yourself and always know your limits. Always remember your family and your roots.”

Kit Trapasso: “Live life to the fullest. Look and explore options. Be kind to yourself and others. Speak your mind but be willing to listen others as well. Be heard but respect other views as well. Work hard and be proud of your accomplishments but please don’t boastful. Praise others. Lastly, find love and hold on to those who you love and who love you.”

Provided photo: Skyler Munn of Lyndonville had a decorative vehicle for Lyndonville’s graduate parade last Friday. He was one of 45 members of Lyndonville’s Class of 2020.

Wesley R. Pickreign: “Your destinies are not predetermined. Your lives, whether you are successful, happy, and healthy will be determined by the choices you make each and every day. The right choice are often not the easy choices. If you consistently make the right choices you will have a happy, successful, and healthy life.”

Lori Laine: “Be kind to yourself and others, stay focused on where you are heading, smile even when it takes a little effort, work hard, play outside whenever you can, love your fellow man. Don’t ever forget where you came from, you may need to go back there someday.”

Erin Smith Casillo: “You don’t plan for a crisis but you can prepare for one. Always have a savings to tap into if needed. Learn how to cook for yourself. Be humble enough to ask for help, be grateful and say thank you. And keep a roll of TP on hand because you never know when s*** may hit the fan!

“There are two types of people in this world. Those that are prepared for whatever life throws at them. And those that wish they were. Be the first type.”

Laura Monacelli-Harvey: “Set your goals and obtain a career that you love, always stay true to your heart, respect your fellow man, be kind…always! Remember your family and adults who stood by you through your years who loved and encouraged you. Blessings to all of you.”

Pam Spink: “Think for yourself! If things don’t seem right, ask and find out why! Be your own leader, but remember to be kind! Set goals and know they can be adjusted if need be. Life throws us a few curve balls, but you have got this!”

Thomas Hollenbeck: “Keep striving for your goals. You’ve proved that even the uncertainty cannot stop you. Keep your faith alive and do your best at everything you do. Enjoy the moments and cherish your memories.”

Aurora Burr: “Be safe, stay healthy, have fun, and retain your humanity!”

Benjamin Wahl: “Don’t go into debt buying nice things. The people you are trying to impress won’t be in your lives when your still paying it off. Live within your means. Listen to your parents advice, sounds cliche but I wish I had. Have fun, these are the best years of your lives.”

Carly-Grace Woodworth: “Cherish all moments with any and all loved ones. The best thing you can do is realize the amazing beauty and love around at the exact time it is happening. It won’t be as easy to remember in the future and it’s a glorious feeling.”

Amy Jenks: “When life gets hard remember it’s temporary. It will pass even when it seems like it won’t. I promise you it will.”

Elizabeth Ann Furmanski: “Don’t take 8 a.m. college classes if you can avoid it. No matter how much of a morning person you think you are, because you’ll soon realize it’s not the same as waking up for high school.”

Randy LeBaron: “Don’t treat others how they treat you but rather how you would want to be treated. You can’t always control your circumstances (what happens to you) but you can always control your attitude (how you choose to respond). When in doubt—be kind.”

Janet Holliday Williams: “You were born when the world was mourning 9-11 and now you’re graduating during an unprecedented time in our lives. YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS! Be kind, love hard, be an ally.”

Photo courtesy of Sue Starkweather Miller: Albion has five sets of twins in the Class of 2020. They include, bottom to top: Brilliance and Breanda Johnson, Paige and Kendall Derisley, Patrick and Laiken Ricker, Kyle and Abbie Pappalardo, and Colby and Masey Ferchen. They are among 135 graduates at Albion.

Sara Marie Mathes: “Never have regrets because everything happens for a reason – take it as a lesson learned and grow from it. Travel, build new relationships, love fearlessly, dream BIG, work hard and forgive!”

Alaina Boyce: “Get out of your hometown for a while. The world has so much to offer and there’s so many opportunities for you.”

Theresa Tracy Brien: “Keep reaching. Stay better, not bitter. Always be thankful. Stay true to yourself. Listen to your intuition – It’s usually correct. Always make adventures! That’s what keeps you young.”

Robin Wehling: “Remember your roots. You have endured & conquered so much in your life. Take your inner core to make more changes in this world but always remember your family, friends, & community was always there for you.”

Ivy Blair: “Congratulations to all of you. What is happening now is just one of life’s tests. You will face many more challenges throughout life, let how you handle this represent the rest of life’s challenges. You will be all the better for it.”

Amy Suzanne: “Don’t make fun of the town where you came from too much. It helped make who you are. They try to build small towns like this in the South and out West that don’t come close with history & charm. Go away & see the world. And maybe come back to your hometown & shine it up & make the region better somehow.”

Katie Elizabeth: “When it is safe to travel again DO IT and go far away from your hometown, start investing your money early, do not go into debt with fancy things, use your ability to VOTE and create a better future, THERE ARE ZERO limits to what you put your mind to. If you are smart, have a strong work ethic and kind you can get yourself into and out of any circumstance. Money comes and goes. Wear sunscreen and wear a seatbelt. Last one….. PEOPLE REMEMBER HOW YOU Make them FEEL. Congrats class of 2020”

Cherrie Monnier: “Question everything. Read the opposition’s view. Challenge yourself. The world is not what your parents tell you. It’s not what social media tells you. It’s not what the mainstream media tells you. The world reacts to you and you react to it. Learning about others helps cultivate a better understanding of yourself which in turn will lead to better, more fulfilling interactions. Through this mindset, you can find your way.”

Holli Nenni: “If you finished your senior year deprived of typically senior activities, you are prepared for whatever curveballs life throws at you later!”

Pamela Hodom: “Be the very best you can be and don’t ever let go of your dream. Treat others with respect and make the time and effort to give back to others less fortunate. Remember your roots, as they will hold you up in a storm.”

Deb Arlington: “Be smart and think about your actions especially wearing a mask and social distancing! Focus on a goal!”

Joel David: “You only live once. Life is not a dress rehearsal. There are two things in life that can not be taken from you: Education and Experience. Get as much of each as you can! Play hard and work harder! NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING!”

Louise Cotter Mana: “Be kind always, and don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Return to top