AUGUSTA — Cony High School’s class of 2013 is made up of 180 individuals who, mixed together, make for a pretty tasty class, Salutatorian Leyna Tobey told her fellow graduates Sunday.

Tobey compared her classmates and their journey through Cony to cookies being prepared and baked noting, as she started, that no one who knows her would ever have expected her to give a “normal” speech.

“Think of the bowl that you use as Cony, and think of the oven as a symbol of our four years in high school,” Tobey said. “The ingredients, they represent us. Once all the ingredients are ready, we begin mixing them all together. At the beginning of the year, we were all raw, lumpy balls of dough. Now, as we end our time together, we have all flattened out into soft, golden-brown, delicious-looking cookies. We have all matured. We have all grown into our personalities. We have learned something about who we are as individuals. Today we are all leaving the oven we have come to know as Cony High School.”

Interim Principal Kim Silsby said the class of 2013 is one known for the individuality of its members, which she said is a positive attribute that has served them well in school and will continue to do so in life. She also said the class is spirited and resilient with members who have overcome challenges ranging from family crises to having to work to support themselves.

“The class of 2013 is incredibly resilient. I’m proud of you for overcoming whatever obstacles you faced to get here today,” she said. “Your class has already demonstrated the skills needed for success. You’ll need individuality. Your perseverance and determination will serve you well in life’s twists and turns. We thank you for enriching our school and our city with your presence.”

Graduates’ siblings, parents, grandparents, friends and others nearly filled half the Augusta Civic Center for graduation.

“You should be really proud to have so many people here to support you,” said James Anastasio, interim superintendent who, the previous three years before this year, was the high school principal of the graduates.

The Cony concert band played “Pomp and Circumstance,” as graduates marched in, and later played a raucous rendition of the song “Steel.” The Cony Madrigals, made up primarily of graduates, sang “100 years.”

Graduate Tyler Bridgham, who was initially denied permission to wear his Army National Guard sash over his robe during graduation, was later allowed to do so after a vote Saturday by the school board to allow military sashes to be worn at this year’s graduation.

Sunday, Bridgham posed and smiled for a photograph briefly but proudly on the stage after he accepted his diploma with the Army sash over his shoulders on top of his red Cony gown.

Valedictorian Josie Lee urged her classmates to seize opportunities in their lives.

“Although each of our paths after high school may not exactly resemble one another’s, there is still one thing that the real world offers us all,” Lee said. “One thing that seems to fuse all of our dreams. And that is opportunity. No dreams can be achieved without the seizing of opportunity. And lucky for us, class of 2013, opportunity is and will always be there. It is up to us, however, to take it.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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