Poughkeepsie HS holds its 150th launch

By Jennifer L. Warren

POUGHKEEPSIE – Liquette Taylor didn’t have a speech prepared for her opening speech; after all, life had provided all the essential, raw, and powerful material he needed to pass on to the class of 2022 at Poughkeepsie High School (PHS).

“I look at this course and I see one that has really adapted, and I expect you to do the same for the rest of your life because life has changed, and you have to be ready for it” , pointed out Taylor, a 2006 PHS graduate. “Go hard at everything; exhaust all the resources you have because this life is going to hit you hard and your journey is an inspiration to others, so I encourage you to truly believe in yourself no matter what.

Taylor’s wisdom was tapped firsthand: After having to stay an extra year in high school before graduating, and then having no job or prospects after high school, he had a son whom he soon lost the right to see after a party lifestyle brought him into prison. At rock bottom, Taylor had an epiphany when he realized he needed to take control of his life. Now founding CEO of the local nonprofit, Community Matters 2 Inc. in Poughkeepsie, Taylor has found her passion and purpose, while giving back to her community. His career, still evolving, is full of lessons that he was eager to pass on.

Members of Poughkeepsie High School’s Class of 2022 prepare to hit the football field Saturday night for the school’s 150th kickoff drill.

“After everything that happened, I imagined myself here talking to all of you,” said Taylor, who has won several community accolades over the course of his career. “Never, ever give up on what you are going through in life.”

About 180 graduates listened intently to Taylor’s messages, soaking up the lessons, as they prepared to embark on the next chapter of their lives. With the sun beating down on a glorious summer evening, the Poughkeepsie High School football field was abuzz. Whether going into the military, directly into the workforce, or into the college ranks, each graduate bore the special distinction of having acquired critical perseverance and integral flexibility in the face of a pandemic during two years of their high school journey. ; the experience only made the moment on the football pitch even more enjoyable.

“One thing I’ve really learned is that time doesn’t stop for anyone; these moments will never last and time will continue to pass,” said valedictorian Elijah Johnson. “Moments will pass, so it is important to remember them; it’s the next chapter of our lives, but that doesn’t mean we should burn others. Johnson, who will attend MIT on a scholarship in the fall, added, “Keep your friends close and don’t let them go; look forward and look back, for your experience generates your future, and those experiences are your future.

Those special memories of pioneering with the Class of 2022 are something Principal, Kelleyann Royce-Giron has forever sealed in her heart. Reflecting on returning to her alma mater in 2020 when that class was in second grade, Royce-Giron spoke of the unexpected curveballs the pandemic placed both within her and in the paths of her proteges. There was no game plan, no rule book for the brand new reality, but there was strength, dedication, belief, and community… things – with the Class of 2022 – that she will never, ever forget.

“You are amazing,” said a teary-eyed Royce-Giron, addressing the graduates. “What I’m so proud of is how well each of you faced adversity and overcame it.” Continuing, as she grew more emotional, Royce-Giron added, “As a pioneer, we changed the narrative here; this class is truly the post-Covid class, and it’s something you should all talk about and be proud of.

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