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Holley graduates told to cherish small-town community

Posted 28 June 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – Zackery Alan Kates throws his arms up as teacher Michael Crissman announces him across the stage.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

HOLLEY – This morning 81 Holley graduates walked the stage in the Woodlands Soccer Field behind the high school. It was the school’s 65th annual commencement.

The graduates have already completed 500 college credit hours and earned $17,000 in local and community scholarships. They are eligible for up to $380,000 in specific college scholarships.

Of the 81 grads, 47 will be going on to higher education. Nine will be entering the military. Seventeen will be going into the workforce. One foreign exchange student will be returning to Thailand and seven graduates remain undecided about their future.

Monica Rose Merlau shakes hands with members of the Board of Education. Savanna Marie Merriam stands on stage getting her diploma from Brenda Swanger, President of the Board of Education, Principal Susan Cory and Superintendent Robert D’Angelo. Toni Meyers waits to be called on stage.

Corey Patrick Winter sings the beginning of “No Day But Today” from the musical “Rent” to lead the Holley High School Women’s Choir into the song.

Salutatorian Daniel Flanagan recommended the current class of juniors cherish the memories they will be creating at Holley in the next year.

“What will really be remembered are the memories that you make and the people that you bond with,” Flanagan said. “Those are the moments that a person lives for in high school and we’ll tell our kids about later down the road. Be proud to say you graduated a Holley Hawk.”

Shelby Lynn Kunker delivers her valedictory address to her classmates.

Shelby Kunker, the valedictorian, said, “Your choices and how you act are going to make a difference throughout the rest of your time on this planet. Whether your decisions are good, or not so good, they matter. Make the most of your life. Through our actions, we impact many untold people. Never think you aren’t significant.”

John Heise spends a few moments delivering pieces of wisdom he has learned throughout his life. Heise is a former Holley principal and president of the Board of Education.

Retired Holley Administrator John Heise offered advice through his address to the graduates.

“No matter what your path, you have an opportunity to reinvent yourself,” Heise said. “Keep what is good, get rid of what is not, and move forward. There will always be new skills to learn. Listen to others. Choose your friends wisely. Anything you achieve will come from hard work.”

Heise also said to recognize the importance of family and community. He explained that he moved to Holley from Rochester because it was a great thing to know your neighbors and have people around you who will support you.

Paul Michael Pfeiffer pumps his fist in the air as he hops onto the stage to receive his diploma.

Lauren Ann Hennekey stands as she is recognized for a scholarship for her vocational excellence through BOCES for cosmetology.

Lauren Ann Hennekey needs to earn 200 more instructional hours to gain her cosmetology license.

Hennekey explained her plans after graduation. “I’m going to the Empire School of Beauty in Greece, I’ve always been interested in hair and makeup. I will miss everyone. I’ll especially miss Penny Cole, my cheerleading coach. I will definitely miss all my friends.”

Hennekey’s mother, Mary Beth, added, “I’m very excited. She’ll do wonderful things no matter what.”

As is tradition during their outdoor commencement, the graduates gather in the corner of the soccer field and throw their caps in the air surrounded by family and friends.