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Graduation: The great equalizer

SPRINGVILLE—The newest Springville-Griffith Institute class of graduates took to the stage June 24 to celebrate their hard work and accept their diplomas. In total, 138 seniors made up the Class of 2017.

Senior Class President Chloe Wnuk served as master of ceremonies and 2005 alum David Ebert gave the guest speech.

Erin Jurkowski likened graduating to a “fresh coat of paint,” not exactly a blank slate, but a chance to show themselves to the world. The salutatorian’s speech pointed out the different paths her and her classmates have taken, the Regents exams they struggled most with and the athletics titles they’ve won.

“But today ...we will all receive a diploma, a fresh coat of paint,” Jurkowski said. “The world can look upon us now … and appreciate new characteristics. A fresh coat of paint … the great equalizer.”

Valedictorian Isobel Hooker paid homage to the Village and the opportunities it has offered students. She outlined her first time on stage at Springville Center for the Arts, which led to discovering music in school and eventually gave her a way to express herself.

“I have a way to bring myself happiness,” Hooker said. “I’m so fortunate … [Springville] has so much to offer.”

Hooker reminisced on a lesson taught in social studies, where students spun a wheel with sections for every country. After most students spun the wheel and landed on India, China and others, Hooker realized there is a very slim chance of being born in America.

“Look at your chances … it was very unlikely, yet here you are,” she recalled her teacher telling the class. “You won the lottery by being born here, now what are you going to do with your golden ticket?”

Hooker invited Jurkowski back to the podium as the friends gave a joint speech that concluded with their singing of S-GI’s school song.

Following Principal James Bialasik and Assistant Principal Joseph DeMartino’s presentation of scholarships and awards, the distinguished alumni took the stage.

Ebert is an actor, writer and comedian who currently lives in New York City. Having performed live comedy and on MTV shows, he said he was “surprised” to be invited back to speak.

“Last year’s guest … was my class' valedictorian … I was 174 in my class,” Ebert said. “So when I say I’m surprised to be here, you understand.”

The self described “true son of Springville” outlined five rules for the graduates upon leaving high school. The first rule was to “like stuff and have fun,” saying life is more enjoyable if you’re participating. His other rules included pending five minutes a day practicing something you love, never doing something that doesn’t serve two purposes, never going back to a job you chose to leave and to keep your fire.

“The last rule … is that there are no concrete rules … there are consequences,” Ebert said. “When you get out there … it gets better. Your past doesn’t define you.”

Prior to the presentation of diplomas, Senior Class Vice President Caroline Dickinson presented Superintendent Kimberly Moritz with the gift of light. Along with last year’s class, the Class of 2017 paid for customized lights in the auditorium. Upon accepting the gift, Moritz told the seniors this is not their greatest accomplishment, but rather their first. She asked them to challenge falsehoods, call injustice by its name, help someone and always remember they were loved at S-GI.

DeMartino, Moritz, Bialasik and Board of Education President Allison Duwe presented the class with their diplomas, before the turning of the tassels.

The graduates are: Hannah Adams, Colby Adamski, Ian Baker, Marcus Ballowe, Cody Bass, Quinton Belscher, Cassandra Bové, Caitlyn Bryniarski, Trevor Bunch, Crystal Cardinale, Dannie Carvalho, Katherine Clark, Meghan Cobo, Dalton Coleman, Miranda Connelly, Robert Connors II, Austin Coon, Gregory Cooney, Brooke Czechowski, Hunter Darmstedter, Louis Davies, Hope Dawley, Bret DeFrain, Caroline Dickinson, William Doherty, John Domes, B. Dubay, Alix Dubel, Aliya Duchnick, Austin Dycha, Shannon Easton, Madisyn Emley, Tyler Fedeson, Marissa Folts, Mary Franklin, Annah Freeman, Samantha Fruehauf, Kayley Gabel, Mariah Gamel, Nicole Gangler, Jacob Gernold, Autumn Gilbert, Taylor Glass, Cody Goodremote, Jacob Goodremote, Richard Goodremote, Ryan Gottstine, Dalton Grimm, Casey Harnish, Zoie Haught, Kailynn Hawkins, Arianna Hayes, Zachary Heary, Isobel Hooker, Ryan Hopkins, Faith Jablonski, Jonathan Jackson, Marcus James, Lexus James-Pollard, Erin Jurkowski, Sara Kehr, Saide Kirkham, Dylan Klein, Kierstin Komenda, Jesse Konert, Jacob Kotlarsz, Julianna Kraft, Joseph Krieger, Julia Krzemien, Jenavieve Lehr, Hailey Lines, Hannah Lukeman, Tyler Lux-Rehrauer, Adam Manze, Devin Maul, Kevin Mesch, Caitlin Morazzini, Tanner Morlok, Joshua Moscato, Sarah Myers, Audrey Nardolillo, Tyler Neamon, Luke Newman, Briana Nicholls, Gabrielle Nicolls, Jessica Nietopski, Connor O’Brian, Joseph Orsini, Jakob Ott, Samantha Parker, Haley Patterson, Madison Pazzuti, Joshua Petri, Gabrielle Pfeifer, Tristan Pilger, Cooper Ploetz, Robert Popp, Emma Prantke-Burr, Simon Rice, Miranda Richert, Jessica Roggie, Emily Roman, Rachel Rosenwie, Devon Schiefer, Ashley Schoepflin, Adam Schroeder, Devon Schultz, Alexis Shaffer, Carmen Sicignano, Chase Siegle, Brandon Simmons, Daimen Skinner, Zachary Slippy, Jamie Slotman, Jessica Slotman, Anthony Smith, Alexia Sopko, Caleb Stanier, Megan Stoddard, Molly Sullivan, Patricia Tallman, Brandon Taylor, Kayle Timmel, Kelly Troidl, Alexis Tyger, Ryan Ucci, Kurt Uschold, Levi Von Iderstein, Nolan West, Brieannah Wheeler-May, Adam Wiede, Anita Williams, Daniel Wirfel, Adra Wissing, Alex Wittmer, Chloe Wnuk, Anthony Wozniak and Sara Zimmer.

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