ONEONTA — Oneonta High School celebrated its graduation Saturday, June 26.
The ceremony was held on the football field adjacent to the school, where, in a common theme among graduates this year, speakers talked about struggling through COVID and the extra challenges associated with the pandemic.
“No other generation has felt more trapped in our hometown than ours,” Aidan Mackey said, a graduate tasked with giving the greeting. “I call upon all of you to forge your own path and to tell your own story. … Our expectations were set so low this year that anything we got back was an amazing experience.”
In total, there were 121 graduating seniors in the class of 2021, many of whom won scholarships and awards.
In addition to congratulating the graduates, Superintendent Thomas Brindley thanked the parents and staff for enduring through COVID.
“In some way, shape or form, you’ve all participated in school this year, and for that I’m grateful,” Brindley said. “Despite the craziness of this school year, it seems that these four years have passed by really fast. This class was an incredibly special group. This is more true now than ever before.”
Valedictorian Maximillian Madej gave a speech that encouraged his fellow graduates to do better.
“I know nobody wants to keep hearing it but last year was challenging for all of us,” Madej said. “A few years ago, I was given the simple advice to do better. In some instances, I succeeded and in some instances, I failed. But I’ve always tried my best. By doing better, we’ll all be happier and more fulfilled. ”
“We, the class of 2021, have shown we are kind and hard working and ready to move on and take on the challenges of tomorrow,” Madej said.
The Unatego class of 2021 had a graduation ceremony on Friday, June 25 which emphasized the sacrifices and hardships that the students faced in the last year.
“The class of 2021 has faced incredible hardships,” Gabrielle Borawa, salutatorian, said. “Life is truly unpredictable so learning to live in the moment is everything. …We are a group of individuals unlike no other. It is time to be set free.”
In total, there were 63 graduates of the class of 2021, many of whom received scholarships and honors.
Valedictorian Samuel Cole delivered a speech that felt genuine and poignant for the moment. He talked about procrastination and COVID.
“You all and I have accepted its presence and it faded into the background,” Cole said. “The acceptance of these big events is just part of your reality. Don’t let fear and traumatic moments prevent you from doing something.”
Springbrook, an organization that provides services and support for the developmentally disabled, held a graduation ceremony at its campus in the town of Milford on Thursday, June 24.
There were 15 graduates, the largest ceremony Springbrook has had, because of the coronavirus pandemic it was held in an outdoor ceremony, which was a first.
Another first included the first set of graduating siblings, Jessica Miller and Stephanie Miller.
Traci Lanner, the residential school director at Springbrook, thanked the parents and staff at Springbrook.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have you here on this campus on this beautiful day,” Lanner said.
She said the graduates spent between three and 11 years at Springbrook. The graduates had a love for music as well as having a “large number of Disney fans” in the group, she said.
Lanner acknowledged the difficulty of COVID but praised the dedication of the staff.
“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all,” Lanner said, quoting the movie Mulan.
“They don’t always bloom at the same time. … But when they do bloom they are all beautiful,” Lanner said. “I know I speak for the entire staff today that those blooms make us smile and remind us why we do this.”
ONEONTA – Hartwick College celebrated the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 on Saturday, May 29, in a virtual commencement ceremony.
As the college acknowledged the unusual circumstances surrounding the graduation of the ’20 and ’21 classes, speakers highlighted some of the important lessons that the students would take with them in life.
Elizabeth LeTendre, a digital marketing entrepreneur who graduated Hartwick College in 1990, encouraged the graduating classes to step outside of their comfort zones in order to be successful.
“To be successful, you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” LeTendre said. “Struggling is an important part of the growth experience … Fear is good. Don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t be afraid to fail.”
College President Margaret Drugovich rang the ceremonial bell at 11:30 a.m. to kick off the graduating ceremony followed shortly by a harmonizing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the Hartwick College Choir.
Matipa Mutoti, the 2020 student government president, was the first to acknowledge some of the circumstances the graduates had to deal with during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Graduation is a big achievement under any circumstance, but especially for us,” Mutoti said, listing off the need for students to adapt to social distancing, virtual classes and a volatile job market. “I believe this may have made us stronger. The fact that we are here today shows that we are able to face adversity. …
“Whatever our next steps may be, I believe that our experience at Hartwick College has provided us the tools to be the medicine that our world desperately needs right now.”
Lydia Marteney, the 2021 student government president, also acknowledged the difficulty that the COVID pandemic had placed upon the school while speaking from her home in Auburn.
“Although this day might not look like how we had imagined it, today is a day to be proud of our many accomplishments and remember the glory days of our life as Hartwick students,” Marteney said. “For me, it’s strange and somewhat scary to think that we won’t all be up at Oyaron hill next year, but if we think back to the beginning and the many steps, both literal and otherwise, of our journey here at Hartwick we will realize that we are truly ready for the next step in our lives.”
David Long, chair of the Hartwick College board of trustees, also spoke during the graduation ceremony, talking about his own “abbey road” from England to Oneonta and the strangers who made him feel at home.
“Today you’re journey is uniquely yours, well underway and yet still to be created,” Long said. “You’ve already overcome some tough obstacles in life, demonstrating resiliency even at your young age.”
He spoke about the “unprecedented disruptions” of lives but how the graduates had to make their way through the college with “a unique determination.”
“You found your way,” Long said. “Well done.”
Presentations of awards were given to Madison Germuska and Kiara Biroo, who were awarded the Abraham Kellogg Oratorical Prize for 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Dr. Mary Allen, Professor of Biology, was awarded the Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching. In addition, former state Sen. James L. Seward, who graduated Hartwick College in 1973, was awarded the President’s Award for Liberal Arts in Practice, and Richard Clapp, 1962 graduate, received the President’s Medal.
ONEONTA — After a tumultuous year, SUNY Oneonta is celebrating the graduation of the class of 2021, on Saturday, May 15.
A virtual graduation highlighted student life, achievements and an acknowledgement of the particular difficulties faced during the past year due to COVID.
“Today we acknowledge a major life achievement for not only the graduates but also their families and those they care about,” acting president Dennis Craig said during the ceremony. “If we learned anything over the past year it’s that our successes are only possible from the support of those we love and those that we have been inspired by.”
The ceremony opened with video showcasing student life and videos of congratulations from students and staff. The Leatherstockings District Pipe Band played bagpipes and drums and Zoe Johnson sung the national anthem.
Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also made remarks via video congratulating the class of 2021.
Oneonta will be closing Main Street from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, May 15, in celebration of SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College graduates.
The street will be closed between Elm Street and Chestnut Street for the purpose of outdoor shopping and dining.
Council to revisit mask ordinance
The Oneonta legislative council discussed the city’s mask ordinance Monday, May 10, and the matter is expected to be brought up at the next Common Council meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 18. Questions with the ordinance included whether to have different criteria depending on whether an individual was vaccinated.
Garden Club to hold sale
The Oneonta Federated Garden Club will be holding their Spring plant sale 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday May, 29 at Huntington Park.
Graduating seniors from any Clark Scholarship-eligible high schools are encouraged to apply for the Cooperstown Art Association’s annual Art Scholarship, for students looking to study art at the college level.
CAA will providing up to $1,400 in awards through this scholarship.
The schools eligible are: Cherry Valley-Springfield, Cooperstown, Edmeston, Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton, Laurens, Milford, Milford BOCES, Morris, Mt. Markham, Owen D. Young, Richfield Springs, Schenevus and Worcester.
Home-schooled students living within those school districts are also eligible for the scholarship.
Applications will be submitted online this year. Students can access the form on the CAA’s website, www.cooperstownart.com.
There is no application fee.
Each student will be asked to provide a portfolio of five pieces that best represent their work and artistic abilities. Images can be uploaded directly in the form. Students will also be asked to upload a document that includes the titles and mediums for each piece entered.
All submissions must be submitted prior to the deadline at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 12.
All portfolios will be juried by a local artist /art professional, to be determined by the CAA.
Funding for this scholarship is provided in part through CAA’s annual Adorn-a-Door Fundraiser and through donations from CAA members and patrons.
Melinda Tyler of Cooperstown was inducted to Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society at Cazenovia College in Cazenovia.
Membership requires maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or above, leadership excellence, participation in service projects, and an annual membership fee. Tyler was one of the inaugural members of the induction class.
Heidi Edmonds of Cooperstown was recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest all-discipline collegiate honor society.
Edmonds was initiated at United States Air Force Academy.
Elmira College recently announced its Dean’s List for academic achievement for winter 2021.
The list recognizes full-time undergraduate students who were registered for at least 12 computable credit hours and who earned a term grade point average of 3.6 or higher. Local students recognized include: Hailey Erway of Cherry Valley; Willow Tompkins of Worcester; and Mason Weir of Oneonta.
Thomas Leahy of Otego was one of six students from SUNY Oneonta’s School of Economics and Business who were inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the college’s honorary society in economics for the 2020-21 academic year.
Amethyst Gardner of Oneonta was one of 13 students inducted into SUNY Oneonta’s Edward K. Griesmer chapter of National Residence Hall Honorary.
Nursing major Mataiah Waters, Milford, above, walks with 214 fellow graduates during the recessional at Hartwick College,’s 88th annual Commencement on Oyaran Hill in Oneonta earlier this afternoon. At right, Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich, rear, joins the crowd in recognizing Eric Cooper, associate professor of biology, who was the recipient of this year’s esteemed Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Some 1,500 graduates took their final walk across the stage at this morning and afternoon in three-session SUNY Oneonta’s 130th Commencement in the Dewar Arena. Above, graduate Michael Bagby, Oneonta, shakes hands with SUNY President Barbara Jean Morris, who gave her first commencement to the class of ’19. At right, Oneonta’s Sapphira Koerner beams as she and her fellow students march out during the recessional. Two alumni delivered commencement addresses at separate ceremonies: James C. Zachos, ’81, a widely published paleoclimatologist, professor of geology, and National Academy of Sciences member,, spoke at the first session; Crystal L. Williams, ’77, CEO and executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, spoke at the two others. Also, eight faculty members and four students received Chancellor Awards for Excellence (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
CONCERT – 3 p.m. Oneonta Community Concert Band presents a World Tour in Music featuring the “Star Spangled Banner,” “King Cotton March,” “Marche des Parachutists Belges,” “Amparito Roca,” more. Wilber Park, Oneonta. Call 607-437-0152.
GRADUATION – 1:30 p.m. CCS Seniors receive their diplomas. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-8181 or visit www.cooperstowncs.org
Leroy Williams, Jr. embraces one of his teachers, Kelly Tavarone, as the Oneonta High School Class of 2018 exits the auditorium following the 149th annual Commencement at the high school’s Belden Auditorium at this afternoon. The graduates, lauded by Principal Tom Brindley, right, for their caring and compassionate nature, had an unheard of number fights during the school year: zero. “This is a group that cares about each other, looks out for each other and cheer each other on,” Brindley remarked. “(They) are a friendly smile on a bad day. What you do does not compare to who you are.” It was also announced that Brindley is being promoted to assistant superintendent, a new position. “I consider it a privilege to graduate with you.” he said. Brindley’s successor will be his assistant principal, Anne Wolstenholme. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com