By CAROLINE MURRAY
MAYFIELD -- The Mayfield Central School District class of 2014 crowded inside the high school cafeteria Saturday morning, clinging to their glossy blue robes as they counted down the minutes until they had to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas.
Five of the 68 graduates were abuzz with excitement as they fixed each other's hair, took selfies, and exchanged hugs one last time before the graduation ceremony began.
The group -- Molly Gifford, Regina Green, Chelsey Wolz, Kaitlin Brubaker and Mara Chupka -- looked forward to life after high school.
Although the five have been inseparable since elementary school, they all expressed sincere excitement about college, meeting new people, and experiencing different opportunities.
However, they said they would miss the tight-knit community and close relationships they formed while at Mayfield High School.
"We all did everything together," Gifford said.
"I think I am going to cry," another said.
At 11 a.m. on the dot, the class of 2014 made its way onto the field, joining their friends, family, faculty and administration for the commencement.
Class president Kiera Davis was the first of many speakers Saturday morning.
Not aware that she had to deliver a speech, Davis improvised and was overwhelmed by how surreal the moment felt.
"I remember back in kindergarten, being on the bus for the first day of school, my mom taking pictures like crazy," Davis said. "This all happened so fast, it doesn't seem real."
She said she is proud of her graduating class and congratulated them for their success.
Principal Christopher Wojeski said the day was about celebration and looking toward the future with optimism.
Wojeski thanked the faculty and staff who made their graduation possible.
He said the day was a culmination of 13 years of hard work, with the exception of valedictorian Maria VanNostrand, who skipped an entire grade.
VanNostrand had one message for her graduation class -- to always be themselves.
"Each and every one of you is fantastic, not ordinary, but a fantastic individual," she said. "Never doubt that you can make a difference, never doubt that you can change the world."
Salutatorian Matty Krutz said he spent a lot of time worrying about his speech and had to reach out for help.
"Now the most reasonable person to go to with a writing problem would, obviously, be a math teacher, so I went to Miss Tierney," Krutz joked.
He compared life to a math problem, and told the class to always be the "x" because the one thing that has final say in whether the value crashes or soars is the variable, or the "x."
"The only factor you can control is yourself. Don't let yourself be defined by things outside of your control. Instead, do what you do in math; look where you want to go, define the relevant equation, and solve for x," Krutz said.
Mayfield Mayor Jamie Ward was the last to make a presentation during the ceremony. He said the day was especially exciting for him because his daughter Bailey was among the graduates.
Ward said that the 2014 Albany Business Review named the Mayfield Central School District No. 1 in Fulton County.
With that being said, Ward urged the students to use the skills they gained during their education and apply them to their future endeavors.
"Each of you can reflect on your experiences at school and determine what inspires you, and set your sites on it, and go after it with uncanny energy and excitement," Ward said.