Barely home from his own Commencement ceremonies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Clifford Gardner ’10 addressed more than 200 members of the Poughkeepsie High School graduating class during their ceremony. The Poughkeepsie Journal wrote about the graduation, and noted Gardner “spoke mostly about the value of hard work.”
“In my eyes, the teachers here are not just the best at teaching, but making the lessons they teach practical for the world that awaits,” Gardner is quoted. “Trust me, you’re prepared.”
Gardner nominated Alyce Kosofsky, who was his second grade teacher and continued to be an influential and caring role model for him, to receive the Touching the Future Award at the Colleges Commencement Ceremony on May 16.
In November, Michael Austerlitz ’10 and Gardner conducted a workshop on Race, Class and Gender at the Bonner Conference at the University of Richmond, Virginia. Gardner was a Bonner for three years, and was the last original Bonner at HWS. This year, he worked at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center.
Gardner earned a B.A. in history with a minor in peace studies. He won a number of awards for leadership and civic engagement, including the President’s Civic Engagement Award.
The full article from the Poughkeepsie Journal follows.
Poughkeepsie High class leaders shake up ceremony with film, robe switch
Charles B. Scirbona • June 26, 2010
At 2:01 p.m. Saturday, the 203 members of the Poughkeepsie High School graduating class of 2010 entered the school’s auditorium amid camera flashes and cheers from family members looking on.
Exactly one hour and 45 minutes later, with even more cheers and camera flashes, they were all high school graduates.
Juanita Mathews of the Bronx was part of that cheering crowd. Mathews said watching the graduation reminded her of her own.
Karen McCann also was part of the audience, which filled Poughkeepsie High’s auditorium to capacity and also filled the school cafeteria.
McCann was there for her oldest daughter, Katheryn, who is moving on to State University of New York at New Paltz in the fall.
“I’m really happy that she’s gotten here and that she’s moving on, but it’s a little sad,” McCann said.
Bit of twist
The ceremony differed greatly from what was printed on the school’s programs.
At the beginning of the afternoon, class salutatorian Nicholas Hoffman and valedictorian Rachel Susser took the stage.
With the school’s permission, the two bypassed the traditional speeches and presented a short film narrated by them, featuring the thoughts of senior class members in their own words.
“Since the class of 2010 is so different , we wanted to do something different as well. We even switched robes,” said Hoffman, who was commenting on the fact that he was wearing Susser’s white graduation robe and Susser was wearing his blue robe.
Work hard, grads told
The Poughkeepsie High School ceremony also featured an appearance by Clifford Gardner, a graduate of the class of 2006.
Gardner, who is a recent graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., spoke mostly about the value of hard work.
He stressed the need for the graduates to continue working and improving themselves and their communities.
“In my eyes, the teachers here are not just the best at teaching, but making the lessons they teach practical for the world that awaits,” Gardner said. “Trust me, you’re prepared.”