Kendall’s Class of 2021 celebrates commencement outdoors on soccer field

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 June 2021 at 3:31 pm

Photos courtesy of David Klafehn

KENDALL – Kendall graduates are seated in chairs on the school soccer field on Friday evening. Kendall celebrated commencement for 49 graduates in the Class of 2021 at Jurhs Field.

Normally the event is held the junior-senior high school auditorium but Covid-19 restrictions and changing guidelines from the state prompted the district to try a new venue. The soccer field has new bleachers.

Last year, when the crowd size was limited to 150 people for outdoors events, Kendall tried an outdoor ceremony at the firemen’s field. Most of the crowd was limited to staying near their vehicles. This time they were free to sit in the bleachers without masks.

Lauren Miller, one of the graduates, gave the invocation at the beginning of the program.

Willow Clark, an advanced scholar and honorary valedictorian, addressed her classmates.

Ken DeRoller, a graduate from Kendall in 1964, gave the commencement address. After a career at Kodak, DeRoller become an Orleans County legislator. He is a graduate of Leadership Orleans and an active member of the Kendall Lions Club. He urged the graduates to consider building a life in Kendall and Orleans County when they get older, and look for ways to be involved in the community.

DeRoller continued the school’s tradition of having a graduate address the class at commencement.

Carol D’Agostino, high school principal, is at left and Lisa Levett, president of the Board of Education, is at right. Julie Christensen, the district superintendent, also was on the stage. She served as master of ceremonies for the program.

Kendall class advisors Jack Kennan and Jeff Parizek released a lantern in memory of Richard J. Gilman Jr. He and his mother Joan Gilman died from carbon monoxide poisoning on April 18, 2018. Richard “RJ” would have graduated with the class this year.

Waylon Peet shares a reflection about his friend, Richard J. Gilman Jr.

The crowd watches the ceremony from the stands of the soccer stadium which recently received new bleachers as part of a capital project.

The senior chorus sang “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman.

Ethan Kuhn gets a laugh while giving the salutatory address.

Madison Nardi decorated her cap for the commencement – “Now we breathe, We pick ourselves up, We make our family proud, and We raise our voice louder.”

Joseph Nettles, the valedictorian, gives his speech.

Class officers – Olivia Rice, Jacob Esposito, Ethan Kuhn and Joseph Nettles – lead the class in moving their tassels to symbolize their graduation.

The class gathered for a group photo before the ceremony.

Many of the graduates decorated their caps for the occasion.