Graduating senior Trevor O’Herien holds his diploma high in the air and shouts, “I told you I could do it!” His mother Christina Pierce-O’Herien, standing left, came onstage to present her son his diploma. (photo by Jason Emerson
For the first time in many years, inclement weather forced the Cazenovia High School graduation ceremonies indoors this past Saturday, June 23, but the weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of the event.
Hundreds of family and friends of the graduating seniors, along with teachers and district staff, watched as the 123 candidates for graduation, dressed in blue robes and holding yellow sunflowers, receive their awards, scholarships, general accolades and, of course, their high school diplomas.
“Graduates, you are inspired, you are thoughtful, you are funny … you are positive in your outlook on your future,” said Superintendent Matt Reilly. “Continue to be inspired and inspire others.”
CHS Interim Principal Peter Ciarelli, congratulated and lauded the graduates for their hard work and achievements, including their completion of more than 10,500 hours of community service. Ciarelli specifically honored the top three volunteers in the class: Shao Demyttenaere, with 330 volunteer hours; Justin LaBarre, with 331 volunteer hours; and Sarah Hackney, with 561 volunteer hours.
“Be proud, continue to set high goals, as important questions,” Ciarelli told the graduates. “There will always be a little bit of blue and gold in each of you.”
The High School Brass Ensemble played the “Pomp and Circumstance” processional and graduating senior Zach Simms sang the National Anthem. Class valedictorian Nick Barna offered the class greeting, after which he and class salutatorian Shao Demyttenaere received medals for their respective achievements of being the academic leaders of their class.
Barna graduated with a 99.45 grade point average, while Demyttenaere graduated with a 99.13 grade point average. Barna also was presented with his National Merit Scholarship by the superintendent.
Another special presentation was given by Lt. Col. Pam Magee, who presented to graduating senior John Gabor his appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Gabor was one of 1,160 applicants chosen out of more than 10,000 applicants.
“We accept only the best,” Magee said, adding that the appointment was equivalent to a full ride scholarship to a four-year university. Upon graduation, Gabor will have a bachelor’s of science degree in the major of his ultimate choice, and will be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force.
Class Speaker Benjamin Courtwright gave a humorous speech, which he began by saying, “Like an SAT prep book, I have many problems.” After generating many laughs among and about his classmates, he got serious and said, “I’m really going to miss all you people … Let’s set an example for those who come after us.”
After the presentation of 107 awards and scholarships, the Cazenovia High School Chamber Choir performed the song, “One Call Away,” and Lisa Matto, faith formation director at St. James Church, gave the commencement address.
To see more photos from the graduation ceremony, visit Facebook.com/cazrepublican.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.