Breezy night only adds to festivities as 163 graduate in Camden


CAMDEN — The Camden Central High School Class of 2022 said goodbye to this life chapter to move onto another, as 163 graduates received their diplomas on a windy Friday evening on the high school football field.

Among the cap and gowns were Valedictorian Madison Bird and Salutatorian Hannah Dote. Dote shared in her speech that she and Bird were best friends — their complimentary speeches reflected as such.

Both apparently inspired by reading the same novel in 11th grade English class, each of them had something to say about seeking one’s individuality to find fulfillment.

As the student speakers put it — seek your truest self by overcoming the pressures of expectation and normality.

Within each of their addresses, the two top scoring students presented their vulnerabilities to the crowd.

Their individual struggles with perfectionism, especially as it related to their drives for academic successes, were also shared.

“I’m someone who has always struggled with their anxiety and depression,” Dote reflected. Bird disclosed her struggles with her sense of self. “I wanted to be perceived in high regards and so I put on a mask and became engrossed in the world of perfectionism,” she said.

Leaving their comfort zones and following their passions were experiences the two seniors shared, and they hope others will try and do the same.

“Instead of sacrificing your wellbeing for the approval of others, choose to prioritize pure moments of vulnerability, connection, creativity, and expression because these are some of the greatest opportunities life has to offer,” Dote said.

“Don’t learn just to pass an exam. Learn because becoming more knowledgeable about the different perspectives of life is an exhilarating experience,” Bird stated, encouraging this same mentality to apply to other areas in one’s life.

The Class of 2022

163 students — 92% of the class — graduated on Friday as part of the high school’s 134th commencement ceremony. Five students walked away not only with a diploma, but also 30 or more college credits — equivalent to a year of college — under their belt, according to school officials. Dozens of others had some level of college credits in tow.

Camden Central School Superintendent Ravo Root also commended the “extremely talented” class of 2022 for their musical and athletic achievements. One senior was recognized for writing, directing, and starring in their own play performed at the school.

“They’re ready to move forward and make this world a better place,” Root stated proudly of the class.

“This is the day to celebrate and reminisce over past memories. This is the day that all of our blood, sweat, and tears take tangible form ... but this is also the day we say goodbye,” Dote stated.

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