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.”
The last of the Merger Mondays took place Monday, June 14, ahead of Tuesday’s board vote.
The superintendents of Worcester and Schenevus central schools acknowledged the growing pains of a merger, but also argued its perceived importance to a group of about 15 attendees.
Some of the guests included Assemblyman Brian Miller, and Jeff Bishop, communications director for state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is an SCS graduate.
Miller expressed mostly neutrality for the upcoming vote and said he was there to “show support for whichever way the communities decide to go.”
Oberacker was unable to attend because he was at a parade in Unadilla, a cause of some criticism among those who attended, but Bishop said Oberacker was closely following the developments on the potential merger.
If the vote is approved, there will be a Sept. 22, straw poll followed by a Dec. 3, binding referendum.
If the merger is approved the combined Board of Education would increase from five to seven seats. There also will be state financial incentives for the merger, which BOE representatives say will be used to improve educational opportunities and provide funds to a reserve, while also maintaining the same staff only eliminating positions through attrition, which they say will save $690,000.
Class size will be 22 students or lower.
Much of the merger rationale is based on a study conducted prior to the pandemic, which referenced a declining enrollment for both schools, a problem which in a merged district would be resolved with access to more academics and athletics.
Any additional cost for transportation they say will be minimal.
Anything related to mascots, school colors and team names would be student driven, officials said.
“This is emotional for a lot of people. … We do realize that and recognize that, but we have to do what’s best for our kids and everything in the study shows its best for our kids,” Carlin said.
Miller diverted from his original stance of neutrality briefly to posit about the merger.
“It’s to benefit our children and make our area truly prosper. … Things are really getting tough,” Miller said, referencing state funding. “A merger is really the best thing we can do.”
Oneonta High School sent 118 of it’s students off into to a larger world this morning during the 148th Commencement Ceremonies in the Charles Belden Auditorium this morning. Above: Hannah Reynolds is embraced by her father Jamie Reynolds, President of the School Board, after she accepts her diploma from Superintendent Joseph Yelich, left, and Principal Thomas Brindley. At right, Ruby French flashes a triumphant smile with her high school diploma in hand as she and the rest of her class parade out during the recessional. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
SCHOOL RECEPTION – 5:30-7 p.m. The Cooperstown Central School invites parents and community members to welcome the new Superintendent of schools, Dr. William Crankshaw. Cooperstown Central School Cafeteria, 39 Linden Ave, Cooperstown. Info, www.cooperstowncs.org
HISTORY LUNCHEON – 11:30 a.m. Fly Creek Area Historical Society Luncheon, at Fly Creek Methodist Church. 811 Co Rd 26, Fly Creek. Info, fcahs.org
CITY MEETING – 1-3 p.m. Oneonta Downtown Revitalization Initiative Planning Committee meeting. All welcome. Opportunity for public comment. 2nd floor, Foothills Performing Arts Center, 24 Market St., Oneonta. Info, City Clerk’s office (607)432-6450
READING CIRCLE – 6:30-8 p.m. Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New York State. Discussing “Votes for Women: The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited” edited by Jean H. Baker. 5838 NY-80, Cooperstown. For info email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (607) 547-2586.
THEATER – 2 p.m. High School musical, “Into the Woods.” Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave, Cooperstown. Info, cooperstowncs.org
ART EXHIBIT – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Drawings “Life on the Family Farm in the 40s & 50s” by Lavern Kelly. The Art Garage, 689 Beaver Meadow Rd., Cooperstown. Info, (607)547-5327 or email email@example.com or visit the FACEBOOK page.
SOUP! – 11 a.m.-2 p.m., “Second Sunday Soup,” serving homemade hot soup every 2nd Sunday of month. Takeout available. All welcome, donations appreciated. At the Polly House (next to the Fire House), Schuyler Lake. More info at lollywinne.wix.com/littlewhitechurch
FILM SERIES – 9:30 a.m.-Noon. “ Brunch and Discussion with Peter Rutkoff, “The Language You Cry In.” Templeton Hall, 63 Pioneer St., Cooperstown. Info, glimmerglassfilmdays.org/films-events.
THEATER – 7 p.m. High School musical, “Into the Woods.” Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info, cooperstowncs.org
SYMPHONY – 7:30 p.m. Catskill Symphony presents Concert II: Featuring Tenor Jon Frederic West performing Wagner and Vaughan Williams. Symphony also performs Brahms Symphony No. 2. Tickets $30, free admission for veterans, children and the adults who bring them. Hunt Union Ballroom, SUNY Oneonta. Info, tickets, (607) 436-2670, www.catskillsymphony.net
CHINESE AUCTION – 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Milford Central School District 42 W. Main St., Milford. Info, web.milfordcentral.org
HOLIDAY BAZAAR – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Includes lunch and new Children’s Ornament Build $5..The Major’s Inn, 12 Marion Ave, Gilbertsville, Info, (607)783-2393 or (607)783-2967 or visit www.themajorsinn.com
HOLIDAY MARKET AND CRAFT SHOW – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunnycrest Orchards Cidermill Gift Shop, 7869 NY-10, Sharon Springs. For more info visit www.sunnycrestorchards.com