Holley graduates challenged to make community, country stronger

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – State Supreme Court Judge Richard Dollinger took off his black robe and donned a Holley football shirt during his commencement address today at Holley. Pictured in back, from left: Superintendent Robert D’Angelo, Board of Education President John Heise and Principal Susan Cory.

Sonia Mendoza accepts her diploma from John Heise, president of the Board of Education.

Caleb Diep and the Holley High School Chorus sing “A Hundred Years.”

HOLLEY – Why is Holley called Holley? State Supreme Court Justice Richard Dollinger asked 1,000 people at Holley Commencement that question this morning.

Someone shouted out that the village was named for a canal commissioner. Correct. Myron Holley was influential in seeing to the completion of the western section of the canal. The Holley community changed its name from Salt Port to Holley in honor of the canal leader.

Dollinger was keynote speaker during Holley’s graduation. The former state senator from Monroe County said Myron Holley left a legacy by committing himself to a cause bigger than himself.

Dollinger spoke about the power of names and titles. Holley seniors are now graduates. In the future they should aspire to be friends, spouses and parents. They may become firefighters, teachers, nurses, farmers and coaches.

“These are names that will define you,” he said.

The Holley grads also share a title: “Americans.” Dollinger sang part of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and he urged the 108 graduates in the Class of 2013 to use that song as a battlecry to step up and serve their community and country as Americans.

Valedictorian Josh Hatfield urges his classmates to “aim high.”

Valedictorian Josh Hatfield also challenged his classmates to “aim high” and not give up. The students owe it to their families, to their teachers and to themselves to work hard and strive for excellence.

Hatfield quoted famous lines from several popular films during his speech. He ended with a quote from Uncle Ben in Spider Man. Ben told his nephew Peter Parker: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Salutatorian Steven Dill said the Holley graduates can take some time for adventure before committing to adulthood.

Steven Dill, the salutatorian, addresses the crowd.

“Don’t stress out because you’re going to college, getting a job or have no plans whatsoever,” Dill said.

The graduates can begin the next phase of their lives knowing Holley will always be home, said Class President Michael Silvis. He said students have been nurtured by a caring community.

Class President Michael Silvis welcomes the crowd of about 1,000 people today at Holley’s soccer field.

The Class of 2013 announced several gifts for the school, including a new bench by the middle-high school and a Holley Hawks flag to fly under the American flag by the school.

Class Vice President Kassandra Sutton also said the class will pay for track flags and fence screens by the new track. She thanked the school and community for supporting extensive renovations to middle-high school. The class gifts are intended “to let everyone know the pride we feel as Holley Hawks,” Sutton said.

The Holley Women’s Quartet sings “The Star-Spangled Banner.”