Calvin and Hobbes a part of Otter Valley sendoff

BRANDON — Nearly 100 young women and men passed another milestone during a warm Saturday morning in Brandon this past weekend. Otter Valley Union High School conferred diplomas on 97 members of the class of 2014 in a ceremony that was both touching and rousing.
Valedictorian Christopher Keyes entertained the 97 graduating seniors and their families and guests with a presentation that showed Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, connecting them to the education he and his peers had received. Keyes, the son of Phil Keyes and Laura King of Brandon, referenced philosophy, science, imagination and fine arts. He also pulled in references to Mrs. Dardeck, Mr. Dwyer and Mr. Zimmer.
The last image Keyes showed was of Calvin and Hopes standing before a field of fresh-fallen snow and savoring “a day full of possibilities.” He urged his classmates to pursue the possibilities they will see in years to come.
“As we put high school behind us it might feel like everything familiar has disappeared under a layer of fresh snow,” Keyes said. “Take advantage. Get out your toboggan, follow where it takes you; let’s go exploring.”
For the first time in 25 years, OV administrator Nancy Robinson was not in charge of running marching practice for graduating seniors. Robinson, 64, will retire in a few weeks having spent most of her life in the same building — 10 years as a business teacher and another 20 as an administrator at the school.
Robinson herself is an Otter Valley graduate, class of 1968. She likes to say she bleeds royal blue, the school’s color.
“I cannot believe it’s been 30 years,” Robinson said wistfully in a recent interview. “Where did THAT go?”
Class of 2014 salutatorian Suma Lashof, daughter of Judith Lashof of Sudbury and Thelma Stoudt of Rutland, reflected on the strength of the Otter Valley community. She cataloged a litany of strengths held by members of the community, and listed accomplishments in the theater, the sports arena and the classroom.
“Even though we’re leaving school itself, I feel that we’ll always be a part of the Otter Valley community wherever we go,” Lashof said. “It will be with us in the friendships we keep and in the lessons we’ve learned during our time here, some of which will stay with us throughout our lives.”
Look for a list of all the 2014 OVUHS grads and more photos plus a look at what three former OVUHS graduates are up to in next Thursday’s edition.
Editor’s note: Lee J. Kahrs contributed to this story.

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