Taconic High Class of 2016 prepared to shape their own destiny


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PITTSFIELD — Bestowed with sage advice sprinkled with plenty of good humor, the Class of 2016 at Taconic High School has bid their alma mater farewell, moving onto college, the workforce or military.

The 168 graduates listened intently and chuckled at the commencement speakers upbeat, occasionally jovial, words of wisdom during Sunday afternoon's graduation ceremony in the Taconic gymnasium.

Valedictorian Ranjana Lingutla likened her classmates's future to assembling a giant jigsaw puzzle.

"You get to try out all the pieces until you find just the right one that fits," she said. "Every day is a new day to try out new pieces and to shape your own destiny."

Lingutla reminded Taconic's newest alums high school taught them lessons beyond the classroom walls.

"For starters, we've learned to adapt to change and to take life as it comes, by ultimately expecting the unexpected, because there is no greater surprise than the 'Manager's Choice' from our cafeteria lunch menu."

Within Taconic, the Class of 2016 enjoyed good times on stage, academic excellence and lasting friendships with students and a special teacher or two, according to Principal John Vosburgh.

The building itself also providing a lasting memory and the reason a new Taconic is being built across from the aging, leaking one.

"Do you remember dodging buckets in the hallways collecting rain water? Do you remember wondering when the next ceiling tile will fall," he said, getting laughs from the commencement audience.

Salutatorian Elijah Cunningham drew upon the television comedy "The Office" to illustrate his point that Taconic was his "home" for the past four years.

"'It all seems arbitrary, but no matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home,'" he said, citing a quote from the series finale.

Cunningham added, "That quote applies to the place you're headed as well as the place you're leaving and soon enough we'll all have another new home and new family,"

Wherever the Class of 2016 ends up, they should strive to always better themselves; forgo trying to be better than someone else, advised Pittsfield Public Schools Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless.

The city's top educator did humorously provide an interesting footnote to the graduates final — unusually precipitation-free — New England winter on the Valentine Road campus.

"You are the first senior class not to have a snow day since Herman Melville [wrote 'Moby Dick,']" he quipped.

Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.


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