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Albion honor grads feted at banquet

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2016 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Dan Beam receives his honor cords from his mother, Debbie DiBacco, while his father, Roger Beam, looks on during an Academic Honors Convocation Dinner on Monday.

Albion recognized 37 seniors who will soon be graduating with cumulative grade point averages at 90 percent or higher.

Alyce Miller is congratulated by Michael Bonnewell, Albion Central School superintendent. Alyce’s mother Betsy Miller, left, is ready to give Alyce her honor cords. High School Principal Matthew Peterson is in back, along with Eileen Banker from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s office.

The convocation dinner includes a keynote address from an Albion graduate. This year Sarah Brown Dirkes, Class of 2005, delivered the message to the crowd at Hickory Ridge Country Club.

Dirkes was the class president when she was a senior, active in FFA, the school musical and many other activities. She worked in admissions for Cornell University and she said Cornell values well-rounded students.

She is director of external relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C., meeting with many corporate leaders from Whole Foods, WalMart and other companies in the U.S. food supply chain.

Dirkes grew up on a family farm, Brown’s Berry Patch, and she said she learned the values of grit and hard work. Her father, Bob Brown, also impressed on her the importance of nurturing relationships in the community. She urged the Albion honor grads to develop a network, and to roll up their sleeves and work hard.

She has been successful in her career by “daring to fail,” which for her is sometimes building up the confidence to meet with CEOs, forging through a crowd during a stockholder meeting. When she was class president, Dirkes led the push to move the Albion prom from Buffalo or Rochester to Hickory Ridge. That site in Murray has remained the prom location, with a popular red carpet scene for parents and friends to see the prom attendees.

Dirkes also told the students they should know their strengths and match those skills with their profession.

Desiree Barber is congratulated by her parents during the convocation dinner at Hickory Ridge.

Elijah Van Epps goes through a receiving line of well-wishers, including District Superintendent Michael Bonnewell.

Bruce Landis, a local professional photographer, prepares the honor grads for a group picture.

The 37 honor graduates include: Marella Albanese, Miranda Allen, Dylan Bader, Matthew Baker, Desiree Barber, Daniel Beam, Bethany Bowman, Scott Daniels, Matthew DeCarlo, Alex DeSmit, Wynter Dumont, Cheyanna Eagle, Randall Eblacker, Kelley Flanagan, Matthew Flanagan, Madeline Gibbs, Sarah Graham, Mckayla Hastings, Meghan Hurley, Miranda King, Caitlin Malanowski, Alexis Manning, Alyce Miller, Evan Pappalardo, Meredith Patterson, Katelyn Perry, Katlin Pieniaszek, Aliya Rayner, Zachary Shaffer, Kelsee Soule, Melissa Symonds, Kyle Thaine, Nathaniel Trembley, Elijah Van Epps, Chloe Weis, Raven White and Mikayla Yaskulski.