"What if today was my last day?" she asked. "It opened my eyes and made me realize our time is precious."
With that, Minto urged her classmates to go forth and make the best of their time here, and to "work hard, because these next few years will influence the rest of your life, but most importantly, have fun."
The 297 members of the Class of 2008 made their way across the stage to accept their diplomas accompanied by the Schenectady Brass Quintet. Senior music students also closed the graduation with a performance of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," which had the entire audience clapping along.
As the received their diplomas, each graduate handed district Superintendent Jim Schultz a dollar bill. The money collected in this tradition is donated to a good cause each year; the Class of 2008 decided to give their dollars to the American Cancer Society.
Superintendent Schultz also took the podium to wish the class luck and to lend them advice.
"Pay attention to the graffiti on the walls," he said, explaining he was not speaking of the bathrooms of the BH-BL High School, but that found on the walls of Pompeii, the Roman city suddenly buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius: "Appreciate today, for tomorrow is uncertain.""