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Valedictorian Cambria Weeden receives her diploma and a kiss from her father, WGHS Athletic Director Rod Weeden.

Watkins Glen High School
bids farewell to Class of 2017

WATKINS GLEN, June 25 -- The Watkins Glen High School Class of 2017 received diplomas Saturday afternoon at the school's 135th annual commencement exercise, held in the school auditorium.

The class size of 78 was up three from last year's 75.

More than 30 awards and scholarships were presented to graduates. Most of those awards appear below.

The Valedictory Address was delivered by Cambria Weeden, who told classmates that "it is not a failure if you change your plans, but it is if you give up what you love." She also said "you shouldn't doubt your value as a person ... Your absence would create a void nobody else could fill ... You are significant."

The Salutatory Address was delivered by Jacob Carocci, who told the graduates to "do what makes you happy ... Don't rely on other people to make the major decisions in your life." He also urged "compassion toward other people."

High School Principal Kai D'Alleva said that the class "learned to deal with change, and persevered," and that it proved "resilient ... through triumph and tragedy. You can always come home. We will always be here for you."

Class member Alex Gibson, in the Senior Oration, said that the graduates were a tight-knit group, much akin to a family, and that "in light of recent events, the family has been wounded ... Know always that there is a plethora of shoulders to cry on." The "family," he added, "will last a lifetime."

Superintendent Tom Phillips, in his final graduation before retirement, thanked the community for its support that "has affirmed the vision that we must put kids first in all we do." He called the Class of 2017 "historic" for its athletic achievements, which included two team state titles and one individual state title. He said the class was "focused and competitive, and dedicated to one another."

Diplomas were presented by Phillips. A list of the Class of 2017 graduates follows the cutlines:

Photos in text:

Top: Amanda Pike receives her diploma from School Board member Keith Caslin.
Second: Alex Gibson delivers the Senior Oration.

The Class of 2017

Alexander, Nicholas
Arcangeli, Alyssa R.
Atchie, Alexis M.
Ayers, Mikenna A.
Bardeen, Trevor D.
Beach, Cortney M.
Berry, Tyler
Bingham, Alexis E.
Brown, Andrew B.
Carocci, Jacob D.
Chapman-Heichel, Abbie S.
Clark, Ryan D.
Cole, Dakota M.
Connelly, Cameron F.
Crane, Ashley A.
Craven, Phillip S.
Crissinger, Tiffini A.
Crosby, Nicholas A.
Crout, Kendale R.
Cummings, Daryn D.
Dalrymple, Austin
DeBolt, Aidan J.
DeMeritt, Jordan
Dillenbeck, Jordan
Elkins, Savannah L.
Evans, Dakota I.
Evans, Ezra C.
Falls, Casey A.
Fitzsimmons, William E.
Franklin, Emily P.
Gardner, Ruthe E.
Gardner, Sara B.
Gibson, Alexander S.  
Gublo, Elaine M.
Hamm, Angel G.
Hanley, Samuel E.
Harris, Benjamin
Hazlitt, Patrick D.
Hill, Ashton P.
Hosley, Christina R.
Hulbert, Mathew L.
Hunter, Chad A.
Irwin, Courtney C.
Kelly, Jacob C.
LaFever, Diana K.
Layton, Braden S.
Lin, Rong Hang
Lokken, Jacob E.
Lopresti, Serafina P.
Mason, Elizabeth S.
Miller, Abigail B.
Morrissette, Sara J.
Neira, Brendan T.
Oshima, Moeko
Pike, Amanda E.
Platon, Dylan T.
Ploucha, Christopher R.
Pruitt, Ryan L.
Richtmyer, Chase D.
Rolston, Dominick C.
Rutledge, Shawn A.
Samuels, Kacey K.
Saunders, Cole T.
Schimizzi, Maxwell D.
Schwartz, Juliana
Seeley-Ion, Connor D.
Shea, Samantha J.
Sheesley, Alexander J.
Slater, Joelle E.
Smith, Brianna S.
Solomon, Brienna L.
Stutzman, Justin M.
Taylor, Katherine E.
Watson, Payton M.
Weaver, Alexis S.
Weeden, Cambria J.
Wickham, Phebe J.
Wright, Charles J.

Photos on right: From top: An award is presented to Ruthe Gardner by High School Principal Kai D'Alleva; diplomas are presented by Superintendent Tom Phillips to Will Fitzsimmons and Shawn Rutledge.

Katherine Taylor receives an award from Senior Class Advisor Sam Brubaker.


Awards presented at ceremony

The awards presented at Saturday's graduation ceremony included the following.

Amber Brockway Award
$500.00 given to Seniors who are compassionate, loving, kind and charitable. The recipients must be going to a two- or four-year college. This year's recipients are:
Savannah Elkins and Trevor Bardeen

Watkins Glen High School Alumni Association Scholarship
Presented at the Alumni Banquet, The Watkins Glen High School Alumni Assoc. will award scholarships in the total amount on $6,000.00, to be divided among these graduating seniors:
Liz Mason, Brienna Solomon, Rong Hang Lin, Max Schimizzi

Italian American Festival Frank Chiacchiarini Humanitarian Award
750.00 presented to a senior who honors community service and who is active in athletics:
Alex Gibson

Watkins-Montour Lions Club-John Cook-"Bud" Warner Achievement Scholarship
$1,000.00 and a plaque given to a Senior after successful completion of the 1st semester of college for service, leadership and academic endeavors
Cambria Weeden

Peter A. Pevo Memorial Education Award
$300.00 and a plaque given to a Senior pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education
Katherine Taylor

PTO Academic Improvement Award
$500.00 given to a Senior who has shown significant academic improvement in his or her high school career.
Serafina Lopresti

PTO Community Service Scholarship
$500.00 awarded to a Senior who demonstrates a commitment to community service
Chase Richtmyer

Ray Bailey Memorial Award
$100.00 and a plaque given to a Senior who will share his/her appreciation of music by continued participation in a community music group; this student may also be minoring in Music in college
Ezra Evans

Southern Tier School Counselor Award
$450 given to two seniors who have earned an average of at least 85% and who demonstrate exemplary leadership, service, and stewardship to school and community.
Katherine Taylor, Emily Franklin

Watkins Glen Faculty Association Education Scholarship
$1,000 given to one senior after completion of the first semester of college based on citizenship, dependability, academic achievement and entering the education field.
Brienna Solomon

Watkins Glen Faculty Association Member's Child Scholarship
$1,000 given to one senior after completion of the first semester of college based on citizenship, dependability, academic achievement and entering the education field.
Cambria Weeden

Schuyler Hospital Auxiliary Award
$1,000.00 to be awarded at the completion of one semester of college to a senior who is pursuing a career in the Health Care field
Jacob Carocci

CVSA Award
$250.00 awarded to three graduating seniors who have played for the CVSA Soccer League.
Mathew Hulbert, Sam Hanley, Max Schimizzi

Live Like Liz Scholarship (Elizabeth Amisano Ovarian Cancer Education Fund)
$1,500.00 awarded to two Seniors who possess the same qualities as Elizabeth: good academic record, continual evidence of good citizenship, commitment to further education, demonstrates belief in the good of all people, and most importantly, has a great sense of humor
Liz Mason, Brienna Solomon

Erik Houseknecht Memorial Award
$100.00 awarded to a student who has improved the most throughout his four years of high school, reaching higher academic achievement and greater personal goals by believing in himself and helping other students
Charles Wright

Northrup Foundation Award
$1,000.00 and a plaque given to a Senior for outstanding scholastic achievement awarded after the 1st semester of college.
Jacob Carocci

Melissa B. Wilson Sportsmanship Award
$1250.00 and a plaque given to a girl in the senior class with an academic average over 80% who participates in athletics and school activities with enthusiasm and good sportsmanship
Mikenna Ayers

Freeman Family Foundation Teaching Award
(In memory of Larry and Ruth Freeman)
$5,000.00 awarded to a graduating Senior who is going on to a college curriculum in teaching
Brienna Solomon

Watkins Glen Lions Club - John Cook - Milford "Bud" Warner Improved Student Scholarship
$1,000.00 and a plaque given to a senior after successful completion of the first semester of college, for academic improvement of the four years.
Serafina Lopresti

Watkins-Montour Rotary Club Achievement Scholarship
$1,000.00 given to Senior after the 1st semester of college based on academic ability, activities, improvement and goals
Alex Gibson

Zonta/Belle Cornell Club Award
$250.00 given to a senior girl entering the field of medical and health-related studies at a college
Brianna Smith

Devon Shaw "Defense For Devon" Memorial Award
$1,007.00 given to a senior who has displayed a desire to live a purposeful, fulfilling life that demonstrates the life lessons Devon bestowed upon us. This senior exemplifies good character and citizenship, keeping a sense of humor along the way, also displaying the importance of family, friends, and community in his daily living, being involved in groups that may include but are not limited to:sports, music, church, scouts, etc.
Shawn Rutledge

NYS Education Department Scholarship for Academic Excellence
$500.00 per year given to four seniors, awarding academic excellence.
Jacob Carocci, Ruthe Gardner, Sara Gardner, Cambria Weeden

Frank Anthony DeSarno IV Memorial Scholarhip
$1,000 given to a Senior who has a passion for the automotive trade. This scholarship is given in memory of Frank Anthony DeSarno, a Watkins Glen High School graduate.
Trevor Bardeen

Dart League Award ($200)
$200 given to a senior who has high academic achievement in Math.
Rong Hang Lin

Investigator Sergeant Louis A. Van Cleef II Memorial Award: Casey Falls

Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce Business & Education Committee Scholarship: Brienna Solomon

Watkins Glen Elks Lodge 1546 Annual Scholarship: Alex Gibson

Friends of Watkins Library Award: Brienna Solomon

Hector Presbyterian Church Award: Jacob Carocci

Hector Area Lion's Club Award: Phebe Wickham

Ladies Wednesday Afternoon Club Award: Alexis Bingham

Maurice Costa Scholarship: Shawn Rutledge

NYS Correction Officers & Police Benevolence Associaton Award: Jacob Carocci

Zonta Club Business/Health Award: Courtney Irwin

Photos in text:

From the top: Jacob Carocci receives the Salutatorian Award from High School Principal Kai D'Alleva; teachers (from left) Chris Clark, Zach Brown and Ben Connelly on their way to graduation; Serafina Lopresti sings the National Anthem; graduate Cameron Connelly is congratulated by his sister and mother; graduate Patrick Hazlitt poses with (from left) sister Sarah, mom Cheryl, dad Doug and sister Shannon; Chase Richtmyer receives his diploma from School Board member Keith Caslin; Connor Seeley-Ion receives his diploma from Superintendent Tom Phillips.

Senior Class Advisor Sam Brubaker introduces the graduating Class of 2017 before diplomas were bestowed.

And a few more photos:

Diplomas presented by Superintendent Phillips to: Tiffini Crissinger and Dakota Cole.

Left: Exchange student Moeko Oshima and High School Principal Kai D'Alleva. Right: Graduates Dakota Evans (left) and Liz Mason.

Receiving their WGHS diplomas: Max Schimizzi and Joelle Slater.

Left: Courtney Irwin receives an award. Right: Aidan DeBolt during the processional.

Diplomas presented by Superintendent Phillips to: Casey Falls and Alexis Atchie.

Left: Dominick Rolston receives his diploma. Right: Rong Hang Lin and Jacob Carocci.


© The Odessa File 2017
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Odessa, New York 14869