As Batavia Excessive College’s Class of 2022 sat quietly Saturday on VanDetta subject wearing blue and white robes, many relations and buddies hurriedly tried to discover a seat within the packed stadium earlier than the ceremony started.
It was excellent climate with no rain in sight, although the scorching temperature of 85 and climbing made for some scorching steel seats. Marya Cole had discovered a spot to look at her niece Jaylene Dersham obtain her diploma, however quickly needed to duck beneath cowl for some reduction.
“It was so scorching up there,” Cole mentioned, discovering some shade within the stadium foyer. “I’m very pleased with her. She misplaced her dad when she was younger. However she went all over, and I’m actually pleased with her.”
Jaylene, 17, who was a notable Blue Devils Women Basketball participant, was considered one of 169 graduates to cross the makeshift stage and notice a dream alongside along with her fellow seniors. She had adorned her cap in honor of her father, Jayson Dersham, with the phrase “Dad” throughout the highest. Cole wasn’t sure what her niece shall be doing from right here, however is aware of that the brand new graduate desires to go to school, presumably for nursing or one thing extra secretarial.
That wasn’t her proud aunt’s concern in the mean time.
“She did it; she made it,” a smiling Cole mentioned.
Robert Lin, Valedictorian
Though they have been saying goodbye to the final days and years of highschool, the graduates have been reminded of what they achieved. Class Valedictorian Robert Lin spoke concerning the hardships of isolation, separation and the psychological and bodily turmoil his classmates encountered with a pandemic. “It had a “devastating impact on us,” he mentioned.
Regardless of the challenges, everybody rallied to come back again and end.
“All through these 4 years at highschool, we’ve developed expertise, connections, and traits to maneuver ahead in society,” Lin mentioned. “These occasions will develop us to be tougher, higher, quicker, and stronger. As immediately ends, we are going to all tread our personal paths. As we transfer on, life could have many surprises or occasions in retailer for us.”
His nuggets of recommendation included the phrase “you solely stay as soon as,” which he inspired for these prepared to take the results of making an attempt one thing new. There’s nothing fallacious with taking a shorter path or the great distance, he mentioned. Simply by no means hand over. By no means let your self down.
“We now have to get pleasure from life to its fullest, and the modifications it throws at us will hold us keen, and after they begin coming, they don’t cease coming,” he mentioned.
The 100+ common pupil acquired the E.G. Richmond Award for having the very best common in all programs of research. He additionally accomplished and excelled in 13 school or AP degree programs, doing his homework assignments in between serving to prospects at his household’s restaurant after college. A task mannequin to his fellow college students, he was described as all the time desirous to be higher.
Elizabeth McCarthy, Salutatorian
Lower than one level beneath Lin’s common was the 99.9 of Salutatorian Elizabeth McCarthy. Not solely was McCarthy a highschool graduate, however, attributable to her diligence in taking 11 AP and/or twin enrollment programs whereas at school, she additionally simply graduated from Genesee Group Faculty with an affiliate diploma.
The previous 4 years have been “a wild trip,” she mentioned, additionally pointing to the challenges of COVID.
“I’m so pleased with how our class was capable of overcome this large problem. We’d not have been capable of overcome such adversity with out the assistance and assist of our household and buddies, in addition to the distinctive workers at BHS,” she mentioned. “I want to remind everybody to be form. I’m positive we will all consider somebody who has brightened our lives not directly. Somebody who was there for us with a serving to hand — or perhaps merely a smile — after we wanted it most. I encourage all of us to be the sunshine in somebody’s day, in case that particular person wants it.”
At one level in the course of the speeches, Samantha Koons had stepped into the foyer, the place a pleasant small breeze was flowing by means of to the parking zone. She and her boyfriend Ed McDonald have been there for his 18-year-old son Cory, she mentioned.
“We’re somewhat emotional that his child is rising up,” she mentioned. “We’re very pleased with him, very proud.”
A couple of dozen chaperones and safety workers saved a watch on the premises throughout graduation. Some spectators requested about water because the blazing solar saved its heavy gaze on individuals and the viewers. Safety guard and BHS 1997 grad Nick Burk attends each commencement, he mentioned, and the occasions “historically are very properly attended.” He additionally coaches three sports activities and has turn out to be invested within the college students’ success, he mentioned.
“It’s actually thrilling and superior to see college students whom I’ve recognized since they have been 14 or 15 … some are going into the navy, some are beginning their careers,” he mentioned. “It’s nice to see that improvement and progress.”
Prime picture: Batavia Excessive College Principal Paul Kesler addresses the Class of 2022 throughout graduation Saturday at VanDetta Stadium in Batavia. Audio system included Superintendent Jason Smith, who gave an analogy about filling one’s jar first with golf balls — the massive priorities in life — earlier than worrying concerning the smaller issues, represented by pebbles and sand. He later gave every pupil an inscribed symbolic blue golf ball to remind them “about prioritizing your objectives as you progress into this subsequent thrilling section of your lives.” Molly George and Laura Tenebruso — longtime academics on the metropolis college district — current a poem made up by a number of of the seniors’ quotes. Photographs by Stephen Ognibene.