by Jessyca Cardinell
The Gouverneur Central School District graduates of 2017 said their final farewells to their beloved Gouverneur High School at the 129th commencement ceremony, held in the Gouverneur High School auditorium on Friday, June 23.
An emotional night for many, the seats were filled with family and friends of the graduates, who after four years of hard work, were now ready to enter onto the next chapter of their lives.
The graduates proudly made their way down the aisles to “Pomp and Circumstance,” accompanied by the Gouverneur Central School principals, board of education members and class advisors who led the way.
Principal Cory Wood welcomed everyone to the ceremony, which for the first time was broadcasted via Facebook to friends and family who were unable to attend. The video, as of press time on Tuesday, received more than 4,000 views.
The High School Chamber Singers, directed by Richard Haynes, led everyone in the National Anthem, including its senior class members, Kyle Bulger, Cali Steorts, Andromeda Elliot and Raigan Morenz, who gave their last performance together as high school students.
Heartfelt speeches were given by senior class speakers Meaghan Matthews, Bailey Soper and Cassidy LaPierre, who expressed their hopes for their future as well as the futures of their classmates.
Lauren French, Superintendent of Schools, and Lisa Dunkelberg, president of the Board of Education, gave their remarks to the Class of 2017 as they wished them well in their future endeavors.
The chamber singers performed “And So It Goes,” before going on with the graduation ceremony.
Senior Class Advisor Robert Decker presented the special class awards to the graduates, which were then given to them by Mr. Wood. They were given as follows:
Senior Academic Achievement Awards went to LeeAnn Berry, Sydney Brown, Madilyn Frank, Madison James, Cassidy LaPierre, Robert Leader, Victoria Lucas, Meaghan Matthews, Raigan Morenz, Tiana Sargent, Bailey Soper, and Cali Steorts. All stood to be recognized. These distinguished seniors made the honor roll every marking period since they began their high school career as ninth grade students. They have earned honor roll status 15 times during the past four years.
Vocational Student Awards were given as follows: Most Improved Students: Adrienne Manson, Korissa Seguin, Adrian Simmons. Outstanding Students: Michael Hoffman Jr. and Brianna McDougal. These Southwest Tech BOCES students have displayed outstanding dedication to their vocational program.
Elizabeth Kirchner Gleason Scholarship was presented to Dakota Trejo who plans to major in art. This $500 art scholarship is given by retired Gouverneur art teacher Elizabeth Gleason. This scholarship is given in memory of Lillian Todd and Diana Lind, deceased art teachers of Gouverneur High School. The award is presented to a graduate who has majored in art during high school who will continue formal study of a visual art field in college.
Mariano Pistolesi Memorial Wrestling Scholarship ($500 award) was presented to William Leader. This award is given in memory of Mariano Pistolesi by his family. Mr. Pistolesi was a member of the first wrestling team of Gouverneur High School in 1934. He was an avid outdoorsman, and a huge wrestling fan. This award is given to a graduating senior of the wrestling team planning post-secondary education and is based on dedication, inspiration, and perseverance in the face of adversity.
The Kiwanis Club Scholarship ($500 award) was presented to Bailey Soper. The Gouverneur Kiwanis Club awards to a Gouverneur High School graduate based on a letter of personal reference, community service, and academic achievement.
The Gouverneur Key Club Scholarship ($1,000 award) was presented to Daniel Whitton. The scholarship is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Gouverneur and is awarded to a graduating Key Club member who has shown exemplary leadership in carrying out the club’s agenda.
Faye Sprague Hopper Scholarship was presented to Andromeda Elliott. This scholarship was established to honor Miss Hopper’s commitment to musical excellence while serving the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur as organist for 62 years. This $500 award is given annually to a graduating college-bound senior who has demonstrated a commitment to musical excellence and has shared the gift of music with the school and the community.
The Roger O. Favro Memorial Scholarship of $500 was awarded to William Leader. This award is given in memory of Mr. Favro who served his country in the United States Army, held the office of Canton Town Justice, and was a highly respected social studies teacher at Gouverneur for thirty years. The award is given to a graduate who best exemplifies ethical character, responsibility, community service, and a sincere appreciation of social studies.
The William E. Appleby, Jr., Humanities Award of $500 was presented to Meaghan Matthews. This award is given in Mr. Appleby’s memory by his family. He was a gifted teacher, writer, and accomplished musician. He taught English at Gouverneur for over 25 years providing leadership and inspiration to young adults. This award is given to a graduate pursuing post-secondary education in English, music, or the arts.
Jared Walker was the recipient of a four-year Army ROTC scholarship at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. This scholarship covers tuition, books and a monthly stipend. ROTC scholarships are competitive and are based on ACT scores, GPA, community volunteerism, athletics, extracurricular activities and an interview. Jared plans to earn a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army where he hopes to serve in Special Forces.
The Gouverneur Teachers Association presented $600 scholarships to Meaghan Matthews and Cali Steorts. This is awarded to senior scholars who demonstrate positive citizenship, character, a commitment public service, and strong leadership through a variety of extracurricular activities.
The New York State Academic Excellence Award of $1,500 per year, based upon specific Regents exam scores, was presented to Cassidy LaPierre. $500 award winners were LeeAnn Berry, Meaghan Matthews, and David McCloud.
The NNY Community Foundation Scholarship (a one-year scholarship for up to $3,000) was presented to Cassidy LaPierre.
The Roy G. Gibbs Scholarship of $3,000 was presented to Kennedy Hayden-McGill by Donald Peck This award, provided by the Gouverneur Agricultural Board, honors a graduate for youth leadership. Mr. Gibbs was a Gouverneur agriculture teacher from 1923-1954 well known for his dedication to teaching and young adults.
An exciting moment for the graduates came when they received their high school diplomas, the official sentiment that they had made it. They were no longer high school students and would be entering into adulthood, where choices, decisions and goals lie. Nancy Hay, class advisor, called each graduates name, as they walked across the stage to receive their diploma fromLisa Dunkelberg, board of education president andPrincipal Wood.
The GHS Class of 2017 includes the following members: Dylan Patrick Bates, LeeAnn Berry, Eric S. Birkland II, Hannah Marie Boshane, Haley Ruth Bown, Madison Grace Briggs, Sydney S. Brown, Mark William Brunson, Kyle Michael Bulger, Cody M. Burns, Lucas R. Carr, Madison Sandra Casey, Erika L. Dasno, Jacob M. Davis, Bradley H. Drake, Pilar L. Durham, Anthony M. Dusharm, Carly Raelyn Dusharm, Andromeda B. Elliott, Kyle Dean Elliott, Jack Macauley Farrand, Keegan T. Fawcett, Samuel John Fifield, Jr., Elizabeth Mae Filiatrault, Ryan E. Finch, Zoie Madilyn Flynn, Madeline May Frank, Christopher Joe Fuller, Vincenza Emily Gillan, Jeffrey B. Hance, Tori Lynn Hartle, Kennedy Alaine Hayden-McGill, Morgen Marie Hicks, Jadelynn P.S.M. Hitchcock, Michael F. Hoffman, Jr., Madison Lynn James, Tiffany Marie Jenkins, Warren W. Johns, Michael B. LaBow, Abdul M. Ahmed Ladan, Camron Jeffrey Lancto, Cassidy Bell LaPierre, Robert Joseph Leader, William Charles Leader, Victoria Elizabeth Lucas, Adrienne H. Manson, Trevor Lynden Martin, Dawson James Gregory Mason, Meaghan Anne Melody Matthews, David Lawrence McCloud, Brianna Skye McDougal, Anjelica M. Measheaw, Barbie Miller, Matthew Joshua Monica, Kelly Joe Moore, Raigan Nicole Morenz, Cole Joseph Newvine, Quincie J. Parker, Harlie Deane Peck, Frederick Q. Phelps, Wyatt Robert Porter, Brooke Alexis Richards, Alexis Marie Rowe, Tiana Lynn Sargent, Emily Scalzo, Korissa Merrie Seguin, Jonathan Paul Shampine, Lindsey Shattuck, Michaela E. Shippee, Adrian Lee Simmons, Maegan Marie Simmons, McKenna R. Simmons, Bailey Margaret Soper, Kestin B. Stamper, Cali Ann Steorts, Derick William Stowell, Hannah Ashley Stowell, Michelle Leigh Tarus, Thomas R. Theriault, Nicholas Ryan Tracey, Dakota Kristine Trejo, Anthony E. Turner, Benjamin DeForest Upward, Jared John Walker, Lyle Jay Roy Frank Walrath, Noah Z. Way, Hunter Gerald Weaver, Kaleigh Ann Weber, Andrew David Wedlock, Caitlyn J. Wells, Daniel Scott Whitton, Zachary M. Wicks, Jachob M. Worster, and Herbert Leland Yerdon.
In the front row, a graduate seat was adorned with Brennan Stevens' photo and graduation cap. As his name was called to receive a diploma, the audience stood and gave a standing ovation for the senior whose life ended too soon.
Daniel Whitton, president of the Class of 2017, led his fellow graduates in moving the tassels on their caps from the right side over to the left, symbolizing the transition from high school student to high school graduate.
All graduates then tossed their caps into the air in celebration of the end of their high school career.
As the graduates exited the auditorium, family and friends greeted them with excitement and pride. A reception was held in the High School gymnasium for the graduates and their families to enjoy. Many photos were taken commemorating the evening which is sure to be a highlighting memory in each graduate’s life.
Congratulations to all Gouverneur High School Graduates on their hard work and success. The Gouverneur Tribune Press sends its congratulations and best to each and every one of you.
by Jessyca Cardinell