By Kellen M. Quigley
In an intimate ceremony Saturday, June 29, West Valley’s class of 2019 crossed the school stage and received their diplomas, but the journey there was filled with memories and hardwork, and all in the blink of an eye.
Addressing her classmates during their final time together, Class President Lilly Shanley fought through tears to say when they entered high school, everyone told them to enjoy it because it goes by quickly. Standing on stage, she agreed, saying it went by like a race car on a track.
“We all need to know that this isn’t the end but the start of something great,” she said. “High school has been every emotion you could ever feel. It’s happy, it’s scary, it’s sad, and there is so much excitement. It truly is an adventure, but we’re now on to our next.”
Valedictorian Rachel Frascella echoed Shanley’s words of high school flying by, telling future graduates to “enjoy it while it lasts. Be sure to work hard in school, but also have fun.”
Speaking to her classmates, Frascella said most of them have been together since they were little kids, adding that going their separate ways now will be strange, but that’s OK.
“No matter where life takes us, I hope you’ll all find happiness and success,” she continued, “and I hope you’ll always remember the valuable lessons we’ve learned from our small community and school.”
Earlier in the ceremony, Salutatorian Travis Dusterhus poked fun at the school’s size, saying they can’t get away from each other and have become “one big, happy family,” even if they have to part ways.
“No matter where you go, or what you do in this life that’s about to start, always remember this tiny town that you came from,” he said. “Remember all the bumps and potholes on all the country roads and the smell of cow manure. Most of all, remember that West Valley will be here if you ever need a home.”
Class advisor Allison Spence, a math teacher in the high school, wished her students well.
“As you make your way off this stage today, be proud of all you’ve accomplished in your time at West Valley Central.”
Christopher J. Belter, Brandon M. Blackmon, Michael P. Boberg, Skyler Bryant, Nathan Dash, Travis M. Dusterhus, Rachel R. Frascella, Desiree Marie Gillis, Samuel R. Klahn, Kyle A. Kornacki, Madylee Marie Lux, Scott McBurney, Cassandra Jean Morton, Delaney P. Neuman, Camryn E. Phinney, Abigail E. Proctor, Brian C. Reed, Aaron A. Schenne, Lillian Shanley, Madison M. Shanley, Becca L. Smith and Nathan R. Wilber.
SCHOLARSHIPS & AWARDS:
Brandon M. Blackmon — JCC College Connections Student, Outstanding Vo-Tech Student, State of NY Comptroller Award, CH2MHill WXT West Valley, LLC Science Scholarship
Michael P. Boberg — Ashford Snowmobile Club Award, Doug Ford Memorial Award, Outstanding Vo-Tech Student, Pete Scherer Memorial Award, State of NY Comptroller Award, Superintendent’s Award for Attendance, U of R Xerox Award for Innovation, Al Engels Scholarship
Nathan Dash — Art Award, Louis Armstrong Award, Russell Sage College Award, GI/WV Retired Teacher Scholarship Award, Wells College 21st Century Leadership Award, Elisa B. Hughey Arts Scholarship, WVTA Scholarship
Travis M. Dusterhus — Salutatorian, American Red Cross Scholarship, God and Country Award, NHS Distinguished Service Award, RIT Computing Medal, State of NY Comptroller Award, Delmont K. Pfeffer Memorial Scholarship, Obidah Ramadhan Award
Rachel R. Frascella — Valedictorian, Academic Excellence Award, CANY Scholastic Recognition, English Award, JCC College Connections Student, Language Award, NHS Outstanding Member, NHS Scholastic Excellence Award, Rensselaer Medal, RIT Innovation and Creativity Award, Russell Sage College Award, John Philip Sousa Award, Triple C Award, U of R Bausch & Lomb Science Award, Delmont K. Pfeffer Memorial Scholarship, CH2MHill WXT West Valley, LLC Science Scholarship
Desiree Marie Gillis — JBC Academic Progress Award
Samuel R. Klahn — Lawrence DeGrage Memorial, Leo Bernhoft Memorial Scholarship, Gilbert Snyder Memorial Scholarship
Scott McBurney — Janda Lee Hunt Memorial Scholarship
Delaney P. Neuman — Bette Aldrow Medical Award, Barb Nagel Memorial Award, Outstanding Vo-Tech Student
Abigail E. Proctor — Community Service Award, Triple C Award, U of R. Fred Douglas/Susan B. Anthony Award, Wells College 21st Century Leadership, CH2MHill WXT West Valley, LLC Science Scholarship
Brian C. Reed — Irwin Ahrens Memorial Award, American Legion Award, Instrumental Music Award, Keith Young Memorial Award
Aaron A. Schenne — Academic Excellence Award, U of R. George Eastman Young Leader Award, CH2MHill WXT West Valley, LLC Science
Lillian Shanley — Alumni Association Award, Ashford Snowmobile Club Award, Cattaraugus County Youth Citizenship, Outstanding Vo-Tech Student, Superintendent’s Award for Attendance
Madison M. Shanley — CCB Academic Scholarship, Theron Hotaling Memorial, Anna Schroeder Memorial Award, Liz Wiley Memorial Award, CH2MHill WXT West Valley, LLC Science Award
Becca L. Smith — Heart and Hustle Award, JBC Academic Progress Award, State of NY Comptroller Award