Thursday was a busy afternoon at the Malstrom house.

Three of Kathy and Greg Malstrom’s children — Kyle, Katie and Kelly — were preparing to graduate from Niagara-Wheatfield High School later in the evening, so family members had a lot of last-minute errands to do.

“It’s going to be chaotic, but it’s good,” Kathy said before the ceremony.

Indeed it was, as upwards of 100 onlookers jockeyed for standing room at the top of the Artpark seating area, unable to find a seat. The Malstrom triplets were three of about 331 young adults to walk across the stage at Artpark in Lewiston, their final act as high school students. All three Malstroms were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, the school’s 48th, with Kyle serving as class valedictorian.

Narrowly losing out to Kyle for the honor was Joseph Wait, who admitted some initial disappointment at finishing second before realizing what an accomplishment it really was.

“It was actually a very enlightening experience,” said Wait, who came to appreciate the competition brought about by Kyle and other members of the top 10. “My peers elevated me as a person ... if I got a 100 on a test, they got a 102.”

This lesson will serve the graduates well as their lives progress, Wait said.

“You are only as good as your competition and the challenges in front of you,” he said.

The N-W class of 2007 was up to all challenges, principal Michelle Spasiano said. Thirty-six graduates earned an advanced regents diploma with honors, 139 got an advanced regents diploma and another 108 earned a regents diploma, she said.

“You should be bursting with pride,” she said. “Your collective qualities are boundless.”

While honors such as these are worthy of praise, the new graduates will have to continue striving for more, said Maureen Kaus, president of the Niagara-Wheatfield School Board. If they rely upon the sense of self they gained while a Falcon, Kaus is confident they’ll be all right no matter where they go.

“That self-confidence is going to have to take the place of the awards, the trophies, the certificates,” she said.

High school may be over, but the time for learning never is, Superintendent Judith Howard said. Many of the jobs the graduates end up with probably aren’t around now, so it will be only through a continuation of the study habits learned at N-W that they will thrive, she said.

“There’s no option to stand still, hunker down and do nothing,” she said. “It’s impossible to exist without the drive to learn new skills.”

Come fall, the Malstroms will do their learning locally — Kyle at Canisius College, Katie at Daemen College and Kelly at Niagara University. The prospect of seeing three of her children move on largely left Kathy speechless.

“It’s kind of exciting,” she said. “It’s something to be proud of.”

Kaus agreed, saying the graduates should give thanks to those in the audience who helped them get to where they were Thursday.

“What a feeling of pride tonight for those who came to see this milestone event,” she said.

Recommended for you