Tuxedo confers diplomas in Thursday night ceremony

Zack Messick: '... I'm glad for the opportunities I have been given in Greenwood Lake and then going to Tuxedo'

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  • Photo provided Greenwood Lake resident Zack Messick, a member of the George F. Baker Class of 2015, will attend SUNY Plattsburgh this fall to study business management and accounting.

— It's still less than 24 hours since Zack Messick became a high school graduate but the importance of that accomplishment still hasn't hit him.

"I don't even know how I feel," said Messick, a Greenwood Lake resident who was the school's student body president and one of several student speakers at commencement ceremonies at George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo.

Last evening, students and their families gathered to mark the accomplishments of Tuxedo's Class of 2015.

It was a very challenging year for the extended Baker high school community, with emotions still raw for many .

But last night was a time for celebration as Baker's last combined class of Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake students accepted diplomas.

Accounting vs. culinaryIn about six weeks, Baker graduates will embark on the next phase of their lives as they continue entering adulthood.

For Messick, that means beginning a new academic career at SUNY Plattsburgh, where he will major in business management and accounting.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm really into culinary," said Messick, who is proud of his marinated barbecue burger recipe. "I'm taking this major in order to see the business side of things in case I ever want to open up a restaurant. It's good to have that under my belt. I will be taking culinary lessons on the side, just in case I end up changing my major."

Messick's family moved to Greenwood Lake from New Jersey in time for him to become a Greenwood Lake Middle School fifth-grader before eventually moving onto Tuxedo. His mother, who is a Baker graduate, assured him he'd have a great time there.

"She always said I'd love it there," Messick said, who was also a Safe School Ambassador and a member of the varsity basketball and baseball teams. "It was a smaller school and everyone was friendly."

The small school experienceMore than that, Messick stressed, his small school experience prepared him well for the future.

"I think could have fared well in a larger school environment also , but I liked the fact that I knew who I was looking at when I walked down the hallway," he said. " I feel more confidence in myself. I made a connection with everyone in Tuxedo, teachers included. The environment was just so accepting, all four years."

Like others, Messick was grateful to his teachers for all they did for him.

"The academic standards are very high here," he said. "Personally I think I could have done a lot better in school, but I'm glad for the opportunities I have been given in Greenwood Lake and then going to Tuxedo. I'm just thankful for everything that was given to me here."

Family and friendsMessick also knows his family is a big part of his success.

"My mom's been crying on and off for the last couple of days," he said. "I give her tissues. I tell her to enjoy me while I'm here and we shouldn't fight anymore. I'm trying to enjoy my parents more, too. I want to thank them for everything they helped me though, all these years of school. I want to apologize for the fact I might have slacked off a bit, but I pulled it together in the end. I want to thank them for the confidence they gave me that allowed that to happen."

Messick also said he needed to acknowledge his friend.

"I want to give a shout out Matt Newman," he added. "He's honestly just helped so much this year. He was my right hand man, he did so much for the school. He helped a lot of people during a hard times. I want to thank him and give him the credit he deserves. And, honestly, it's been a blast here. I think I've had a great opportunity."

- Nancy Kriz

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