Albion honor grads urged to wade into deep waters
ALBION – The top-ranked students in Albion’s Class of 2019 were recognized on Monday during the 11th annual academic honors convocation dinner.
The school district invites students and their families to the annual dinner for seniors with cumulative grade point averages at 90.0 or above. This year’s class has 39 students at that level. They were all presented certificates and honor cords.
The dinner’s tradition includes welcoming back a recent honors graduate who has attained professional success.
Elissa Good Smith, a 1998 Albion grad, addressed the group. She works as the PreK-6 principal at Lyndonville. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at the University of Mount Vernon, master’s degrees in Educational Leadership from St. Bonaventure University and Communications from SUNY Brockport. She then earned her Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy from Niagara University.
Smith said she dabbled in many activities at Albion, from running track to cheerleading to being in the band, changing her instrument in ninth grade from flute to bassoon.
She thought she would be a minister. But Smith has a love for languages and made that her focus in college.
She told students to go from the shallow waters to a deep lake, and really immerse themselves in something they are passionate about.
She didn’t intend on a career in education, but Albion needed a Spanish teacher when she was right out of college. Ron Sodoma was the superintendent at the time and he urged her to apply.
She loved the job.
Jeff Evoy, the late Medina school district superintendent, was one of her teachers at Albion. When she was comfortable in her role as a teacher, Evoy urged her to pursue school administration.
That prompted her to “swim a little deeper” into her career as an educator.
She thanked her “Purple Eagle family” for their encouragement. That network will be there for the new Albion grads, too, Smith said.
She urged students to reach out to their Albion teachers, coaches, school counselors, even after graduation when they are at a crossroads or a time of doubt in college or their careers.
They offer buckets of water, helping the new grads to turn puddles into lakes, and wade deeper into their career and life paths, Smith said.