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Belmont graduates both a class and a superintendent in 2010

Tim Gurshin, valedictorian of the Belmont High School Class of 2010, presented flowers to his family during Friday’s graduation ceremonies, a long standing tradition at the school to allow graduates the chance to thank their loved ones for their support. Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
June 16, 2010
BELMONT — "We're both in a sense graduating tonight. Most of you only took 13 years to do so though, and it's taken me 21," said Shaker Regional School Superintendent and commencement speaker Michael Cozort at the Belmont High School graduation last Friday evening, held for the first time in the school's history at Meadowbrook's U.S. Cellular pavilion.

Cozort, in his final days as superintendent after 21 years with the district, said it was an emotional evening for him, too, as he holds particularly fond memories of the Class of 2010.

"I remember reading to you in (third grade)- it was The Summer of Monkeys," he recalled.

He listed off other memories of playing Harry Potter Trivia, games, concerts, plays and even the birth of one of the graduates from a large family he had come to know over the years. It all came back as he gave his final farewell to the 119 students he had come to know and respect over their years in the district.

Prior to Cozort's commencement address, final awards were handed out to members of the graduating class. Michael Farkas received the Reverend Fitzpatrick Memorial Award for outstanding citizenship, Kelsey McGettigan was given the Kenneth Muzzey Award for service through citizenship, service and spirit and the final award, the Roland S. Kimball Award for best all around student went to Reid Plimpton.

In her speech to the class, Salutatorian Amanda Berger said she "worked herself to death and back again for the honor." She said it wasn't easy and she had a lot of healthy competition from her classmates butwas able to push herself outside her comfort zone through the strength of her determination. She urged members of the Class of 2010 to never doubt themselves as long as they continued to grow in their lives. She poked fun at herself for blunders along the way, especially when she tried to participate in school sports, but said her family was always there for her.

"True parental love is cheering your lungs out even if (your child) isn't doing very well."

Berger said her speech was dedicated to her mother, whom she said never pressured her but instead allowed her to become who she is on her own.

Valedictorian Timothy Gurshin will be attending Stanford University in the fall and though he will be far away from home, he said he will never forget his time at Belmont,

"Now we are prepared to explore beyond the horizons though," he told the graduates.

Gurshin said felt the Class of 2010 was a memorable one, known for its camaraderie, dependability and, "holistically for its leadership" and would set a new standard for leadership at Belmont for years to come.

He concluded by telling them to remember that the greatest joys in life came from the greatest efforts.

"Realize every challenge is a chance for glory. Every moment is precious. Dream often, dream big and above all, never sacrifice a gift," Gurshin said.

Class President Reid Plimpton took the podium only to find his speech was missing. Never known among his peers for a loss of words, Plimpton joked and ad libbed a few lines until the speech was located, much to the delight of the graduates. He said in looking at his classmates nothing much seemed to have changed except somewhere amidst all the video games, his constant talking and girls being girls, they had all grown up. Plimpton noted the Class of 2010 had already done some great things and he was excited to see what the future would bring them. He closed his address with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Make the most of yourself because that is all there is of you."

The traditional presentation of flowers saw a lot of tears as the graduates presented flowers to teachers, family and friends as a thank you for the love and support they received in their school years.

As they left the ceremony Friday night, they were given words of wisdom to ponder from their former superintendent, who in his address gave them some light-hearted advice, such as always speaking softly and sweetly in case they ever have to at their words. He also quoted them a tip he was told about loaning money to others.

"If you lend someone $20 and never see them again, it was probably worth it," he joked.

But the conclusion of his speech summed up his feelings for a class of which he said he was a true fan- for their community service, their personality, intelligence and athletic abilities.

"Your time has enriched my life and given it purpose. Thank you all so much," he said.

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
Garnett Hill
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