BAHS graduation speeches inspire despite heat

By Kendra Caruso | Jun 18, 2019
Photo by: Kendra Caruso BAHS students toss their caps in the air to celebrate graduation and their next step in life.

The hot gym at Belfast Area High School quickly filled with people eager to watch the senior class graduate on June 16. School staff were directing attendants to the second-floor balcony for seating, but the walls were lined with people wanting to glimpse their graduates taking the next step in their lives.

Carts with $1 bottles of water were pushed by rows of seats in an effort to keep people hydrated while students and speakers took their turns with speeches about sacrifice and dedication.

Keynote speaker Issac Savitz, former Belfast resident and BAHS student, told of his troubled journey with school and then overcoming a skydiving accident that left him paralyzed and not expected to walk again.

Savitz talked about how many schools he attended before being accepted at the University of Colorado Boulder. After sacrificing relationships and free time, he opened his own successful business.

“I worked my butt off for the next five years. I sacrificed everything from relationships, friends, I canceled all my trips,” he said.

On a trip to Hawaii, he landed on his back in a skydiving accident. He remembers lying on the ground, not able to move his body.

“I waited for an ambulance to arrive but it seemed like forever," he said. "When they finally found me, I was sitting there waiting for them; I should have known something was wrong because I couldn’t move.”

Doctors told him he wouldn’t walk again.

The night before a major surgery for the injury, Savitz discovered feeling in his legs. After further testing, the surgery was postponed. Over the course of 10 years, he worked hard to regain the ability to walk.

In closing, he asked the graduates to ponder about who they want to be and to think about how they can become that person they visualize.

“So you all need to take a moment now and think; who do you want to be in the future? Because you actually have a chance to be that person,” Savitz said.

Salutatorian Brendan C. Moline encouraged his fellow graduates to make their own success and called upon them to make a difference in the people and places that surround them.

“I know that each and every one of you has the potential to make a difference in your communities and the world,” Moline said.

 

Isobel Kelly is excited to receive her high school diploma from BAHS. She intends to double major at Champlain College. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Asa Hayes is relieved to be graduating from BAHS. He's hoping to follow in his father's footsteps and be accepted into the Marine Corps in October. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
BAHS graduate Jed Salvatore, posing for a family photo, will move into CMCC's nursing program. He said he's focusing on "moving on to the next chapter of life and knowing that I took something from this school." (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
BAHS graduates switch their tassels after every student has received a diploma. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
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