BRATTLEBORO -- Brattleboro Union High School Class of 2013 Valedictorian Sam Gartenstein told his classmates to recognize the greatness that exists in everyone.
In the four years Gartenstein has been at BUHS, he said he has witnessed students who can blow him away with musical abilities and others who have amazed him with a jump shot.
There are classmates who know how to fix cars, milk cows and plow fields, and Gartenstein said each of the 219 graduates should be proud of something they can share as they move beyond the walls of BUHS.
And at the same time, Gartenstein reminded his classmates to also be humble and recognize the skills and human attributes they need to work on as they pursue their education, life and careers.
"In the 200 or so of you out there, there is an enormous range of abilities and talents. My strengths are someone else's weakness," he said. "Each of us can fill in the gap in each other's knowledge."
The students in the BUHS Class of 2013 picked up their diplomas at a packed Natowich Field, under a picture perfect Vermont June sky.
Family members and friends filled the bleachers and spread out on blankets and lawn chairs as the school's Senior High Band and Senior High Chorus entertained the audience between speeches, award presentations and the final distribution of the diplomas.
Three new scholarships were announced at the ceremony, along with those that have traditionally been given out.
A new Gary Blomgren Scholarship was awarded in honor of the longtime BUHS art teacher who died in November 2012.
The class of 1963 gave out a scholarship to commemorate its 50th anniversary and distributed two $2,000 grants to a BUHS graduate who was going into the health care field.
And a scholarship was presented in the name of Evrett Masters, a former BUHS principal who died in December 2012.
BUHS Principal Steve Perrin recognized the memory of Leah Short, a member of the Class of 2013 who died in January 2011.
Class Salutatorian Hannah Mae Reichel said it was hard for her to write her speech because anything she wanted to tell her classmates they probably already knew.
Reichel said the graduates knew how they had to thank their families and teachers for helping them get through high school, and she said they knew how far they have come and how much more they still have to accomplish.
Still, Reichel encouraged her classmates not to take those truths for granted.
On the contrary, she said, it is important to recognize and remember those very important facts in life.
"Those things we know make us who we are," she said. "You're never done learning. There is always more to know."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.