Campus preps for commencement ceremony

While many Castleton students are making summer plans, the graduating class of 2009 is likely making more long-term plans as it anticipates commencement on May 16. “The class of 2009 has distinguished themselves in important ways: as outstanding citizens and students who have excelled in and out of the classroom, in community service, in the arts and in athletics,” said Castleton President Dave Wolk. “I believe this is one of the most impressive groups we have ever graduated.”

In addition to being exemplary students, athletes, and performers, the class of 2009 was the first class to participate in the Green Student Initiative. As freshmen, the upcoming graduates set up Slim Jim recycling bins in all of the academic and residential buildings, organized Green Mondays, and planted a tree behind the Observatory Lot.

Nearly 470 graduates will be processing Saturday on Woodruff Lawn, awaiting their diplomas as well as the commencement address by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.

Leahy is distinguished as the first Democratic senator from Vermont to date and is also the fourth most senior U.S. senator.

The senator also made a brief cameo appearance in the blockbuster 2008 Batman film, “The Dark Knight,” as a party guest briefly held at knifepoint by Heath Ledger’s Joker character.

“Everyone knows who Patrick Leahy is,” said Castleton senior Ray Boule. “I’m excited to hear his speech.”

In addition to making the transition from college to the real world, the class of 2009 faces the additional challenge of entering the work force during an economic depression.

But despite some initial fears, several members of the senior class feel confident in what Castleton has given them as they prepare to graduate.

“I use a lot of what I learned from my internship at Castleton in my job now, and it’s ended up making all the difference,” said Dec. ’08 graduate Sarah Catanese, who attended three other colleges before settling at Castleton. “It’s definitely possible to be successful in this economy as long as you expand your options beyond your comfort level.”

Others agreed.

“I definitely feel like I’ve been prepared for a great career in education,” said Elizabeth Moyer.

“I really enjoyed my time at Castleton, and I hope to find the perfect job soon!”

In the celebration and excitement of the weekend, however, President Wolk reminds all students to stay safe.

“My wife Diane and I will once again be driving a Safe Ride van throughout Friday evening and well into Saturday morning so that all students can be safely driven home,” said Wolk.

“This tradition of having fun while staying safe is one that we want to uphold! All the best to a very impressive class!

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