HEUVELTON - While most graduates are lucky to address their classmates just once, Heuvelton's Scott McKeever had the honor of speaking at his graduation ceremony, not once, but twice.
Speaking as the Class President Mr. McKeever had the honor of welcoming everyone to Heuvelton's annual commencement ceremony. "As I sat writing this commencement speech last night I reminisced over the past 13 years of our education at HCS. I started to really appreciate the wonders that we are graduating. And then I thought how did we manage to get through all the years?
We have all felt the stress from time to time, being drained from school functions, dances, sports, fundraisers and also a part time job for some. How did we manage to stay on task with our school work with such other active obligations? Let me tell you, not one of us could have succeeded at Heuvelton without your support," he said.
Mr. McKeever's second opportunity to speak would come later in the evening, as he then spoke as one of the district's top four students, looking back at his time at Heuvelton.
"As I look back over the last couple of years through my education at HCS, I realize how fortunate I have been to have had the opportunity to shape my success and my future with such a wonderful caring body. School for most kids is a burden, is a job, is very time consuming, which it is, so why is it so sad that we are departing?" he asked.
"It is because our peers, the faculty and especially the families of the community have made our time at HCS enjoyable and precious. We have shared many happy moments together and other experiences not so happy. All the memories have brought strength and courage to us and wound us in unity," Mr. McKeever said, mentioning the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in New Orleans, the earthquake in Haiti and even the death of a substitute teacher at the school, Mrs. Friot, as challenges and tragedies that the class faced.
"These are just some of the many conflicts around the world and in our community that united our school and town as one," he said.
"We have also shared many pleasant memories at dances, basketball games and countless fundraisers. We as a class showed what an organized class we could be with the Fall Carnival and Halloween Dance. One of the most memorable and meaningful fundraisers was when we pulled together as a class and supported a much missed teacher, Mrs. (Stephanie) Putney. We will always remember her optimism and love she shows to the students at HCS," he said.
When Brian Nichols took to the stage, he looked back on a quote from the movie "Ferris Beuller's Day Off," a film the class watched while on their senior trip. "Life comes as you pretty fast. If you don't stop to look around once in a while you might miss it," he said, adding, "Here we are June 25, 2010, the day that has been circled on my calendar for the past six years."
And while Mr. Nichols noted that he was looking forward to graduation, he also fondly recalled many memories of school such as their trip to Upper Canada Village and their whale watching excursion.
Mr. Nichols then reminded his classmates to enjoy the time they had left together. "Let's make sure we take the next two months and don't miss a thing."
He also took the time to thank two people for the impact they have made in his life, former band instructor Keith Shult and his father, former county legislator and current board of education member Thomas Nichols.
"Mr. Shult taught me hard work, dedication and to never give up on your dreams," he said, recalling a point when he was growing frustrated with a NYSSMA solo that Mr. Shult had picked for him.
"He told me that he would never ask me to do anything he knew I couldn't do," said Mr. Nichols, adding that now he and a friend, Keith Gallucci have actually released an album.
Speaking about his dad, Mr. Nichols said, "I know my father has struggled to find time for the family, but he has always done it," he said, adding, "He taught me the family values that truly matter going into the future."
In addition to his speech, Mr. Nichols also provided those in attendance with a surprise, as the Senior Choir Ensemble he accompanied on piano broke out into an impromptu version of "Stu's Song," from "The Hangover" soundtrack following their performance of "Journey's" "Don't Stop Believin'."
The funniest speech of the evening came from Reginald "Reggie" Pierce, who opened his speech describing a "Farside" comic.
"I wanted to show you this cartoon, but Mr. Warden and I couldn't find a way to display it so that you could all see it. In the foreground of this cartoon there is a teacher. Behind him you can see his students. In the front row, there is a student with a very small head raising his hand to ask, 'Mr. Osbourne, may I be excused? My brain is full.' I don't know what Mr. Osbourne said, but I'm sure Mr. Timmerman (Social Studies Teacher Greg Timmerman) would say something like, 'How 'bout I grab you by the ears and make some more space in your skull? Mmmm, K.'"
"High school is supposed to stretch us and expose us to lessons that not only teach us how Rome fell, how to calculate free fall and how to speak foreign languages, but also teach us how to learn. In fact, that is the main reason for out course of study. The ability and willingness to apply yourself to a task that needs learning is called scholarship and that is what we celebrate today. If you have acquired this skill, you can learn thousands of others," said Mr. Pierce.
Mr. Pierce also noted how the commencement speakers at college graduations have it easy. "They are all individuals who have had exceptional life experiences and they can regale us with tales accumulated throughout their life," he said, adding, "The perspective of a high school graduation speaker is more about the future and who we can become," he said leading into a story about molding a lump a clay that he had found in a field at his farm.
"It was greenish, slimy and I had to pick the roots out of it before I could work with it. That clay developed a brilliant orange color when it was fired. The candle holder that I had fashioned didn't even need a colored glaze to look great. We can be like that clay," he said.
The final student speech came from Cheyenne Martin. "On stage right now are individuals who have dealt with sports, academics, teachers they can't stand, relationship problems, arguments with their parents, drama from their peers and all the other pressures of high school. And through it all have earned the privilege of saying, 'I am a Heuvelton Central graduate,'" she said, adding, "I am proud of everyone of you."
And regardless of what the future may hold for her classmates, Miss Martin said that their education has Heuvelton has prepared them for what lies ahead. "Whether you decide to go on to college or start working, you will face many changes and choices that you have to deal with on your own. You may not always make the right choices, but know when to fix your mistakes and let go and forgive yourself for the ones that are no longer in your control. As Mr. Putney (Social Studies Teacher Howard Putney) would say, "Just use your bwain" and "helpy selfy."
Looking to the future Miss Martin said, "From this point on you are no longer a high school student, but an adult and alumni. Don't be stuck in the past, but learn from it and always remember where you come from. In your own way, make our school, community and your family proud."
In closing Miss Martin offered her classmates one final piece of advice, "Don't take no for an answer and always remember the good times you experienced and the friendships that you made while you were at Heuvelton. Also make sure to thank your parents for everything they do for you. I know they are absolutely proud of you for being up here tonight."
Superintendent Susan Todd also spoke briefly at the ceremony giving the graduates a piece of advice courtesy of film critic Roger Ebert, who has lost his ability to speak, as well as eat and drink on his own, but despite being stricken with cancer that many would say has taken away his livelihood, Mr. Ebert has managed to hold on to an optimistic outlook on life.
"I believe that, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is were all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and I am happy I lived long enough to find it out," he said.
"I wish you the kind of joy and happiness that Mr. Ebert speaks of as you make your way into the big, wide world beyond high school and I give you two thumbs up for all the hard work and time you have put into your time here at Heuvelton," said Mr. Todd.
Class Of 2010
Taylor Ivan Armstrong, Allen Joseph Ashley, Salina Nicole Bacon, Bruce Steigner Carmany, Garrison M. Cook, Travis Michael Corkins, Blair M. Davis, Tyler J. Downs, Brandi Mae Durant, Devin Michael Foster, Racheal Jean Geddes, Kelly Ann Green, Jeremy Lee Hanna, Jesse Andrew Hargrave, Shane A. Harper, Jordan Mark Hawes, Michael J. Herbick, Meagan-Eileen Hunt, Andrew J. Jackson, Jordan Robert Jackson, Thomas G. Jacobs, III, Megan June Johnson, Ross James Klosner, Angel Lea Lalonde, Kara Mae Leonard, Zachery Stephen Limoges, Elizabeth Sue Lytle, Cheyenne Ashley Martin, Scott Paul McKeever, Jr., Brian Alfred Nichols, Patrick Parmeter, Kevin L. Perry, Zachary J. Phillips, Reginald Pierce, Tiana Mae Pinkerton, Katie Marie Powell, Andrew L. Ross, Alyssa Janel Rupert, Christopher M. Sharpe, Megan Ann Smithers, Jenna C. Tabakaru, Julie M. Tabakaru, Andrew Kenneth Thompson, David Mathew Thornhill, Caitlin Grace Thurman, Kassie Larraine Towne, Ryan J. Trombly, Samantha Elizabeth Weaver, James Allen Willis, Andrew E. Wilson and Brianna Leigh Wright.
The recipient of the National Merit Scholarship Program is Reginald Pierce. This certificate of merit is in recognition of academic promise and distinguished performance in the competition of 2010. This is an award of $2,500 each year.
The recipients of the Spencer Kirby award are Devin Foster and Kevin Perry. This award is presented to a hardworking student, willing to take initiative, who successfully completed the Building Trades program at Northwest Technical Center.
The recipient of the J. Albert DeLair Memorial Award is Scott McKeever. The Eighteenth Annual J. Albert DeLair Memorial Scholarship Award of $25.00 is by his wife.
The recipients of the Patricia Dempsey Memorial award are Racheal Geddes and Blair Davis. The Seventeenth Annual Patricia Dempsey Memorial Award of $25.00 each to a deserving boy and girl who attends classes at Northwest Tech.
The recipient of the Michelle (Shorty) Howes Award is Megan Johnson. The Twenty-second Annual PFC Michelle (Shorty) Howes Memorial Fund award is a $25.00 award established by the Class of l984 and Mr. & Mrs. Raymond Howes and family is given to an all around student who has worked hard to succeed.
The recipient of the William Jenkinson Award is Reginald Pierce. The William Jenkinson Memorial Scholarship Award of $25.00 presented to the senior who has demonstrated general excellence in academic subjects.
The recipients of the DePeyster Masonic Lodge award are Blair Davis, Jesse Hargrave, Zachary Phillips, Andrew Ross and Christopher Sharpe. This award is for $25.00 each.
The recipient of the United Methodist Women of Heuvelton is Brian Nichols. An award of $50.00 given by the United Methodist Women of Heuvelton to a student for Christian service and leadership.
The recipients of the Heuvelton Amvets Ladies Auxiliary are Taylor Armstrong, Kassie Towne, & Jordan Jackson. An award of $50.00 is presented to seniors who have exhibited noteworthy community awareness.
The recipients of the Heuvelton Free Library $50.00 award are Kara Leonard and Brandi Durant.
The recipients of the Ogdensburg Elks Club Award are Brian Nichols and Jenna Tabakaru. This award is given in the amount of $50.00 each to students with musical ability.
The recipients of the French Club award are Reginald Pierce and Brandi Durant. A $50.00 award given by the French Club to seniors who are active members of the organization.
The recipients of the Ralph & Gladys McMartin award are Andrew Ross and Cheyenne Martin. A Plaque Award in honor of the late Ralph and Gladys McMartin to a senior boy and a senior girl who has been adjudged most consistent in athletics for four years of high school.
An award of $50.00 each given by Dr. & Mrs. Curt D. Ross is presented to the recipients of the McMartin Award.
The recipient of the Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Dept. is Andrew Ross and Katie Powell. A award of $50.00 each is given by the Heuvelton Volunteer Fire Department to deserving seniors for volunteerism and community spirit.
The recipient of the David Bullock award is Jesse Hargrave. An award of $50.00 given in memory of David Bullock, by his family, is presented to a senior who exhibits an enthusiasm for life.
The recipients of the Community Bank Awards are Salina Bacon, Devin Foster, Jesse Hargrave and Megan Smithers. $50.00 each to students planning to continue their education.
The recipients of the Royal-J-Acres award are Salina Bacon, Jesse Hargrave, Andrew Jackson, Jordan Jackson, Zachary Phillips, Reginald Pierce, Katie Powell, Andrew Ross and James Willis. This award is $50.00 each to students whose parents are involved in the dairy industry.
The recipient of the James Ray Peacock award is Allen Ashley. The Twenty-sixth Annual James Ray Peacock Memorial Scholarship Fund award of $50.00 is given to a worthy student whose efforts and achievements in Vocational Education are commensurate with his ability during the 2009-2010 school year.
The recipients of the Eastern Star award are Angel Lalonde and Briana Wright. $50.00 each is given by the St. Lawrence Chapter #60 Order of the Eastern Star to deserving senior girls who demonstrate benevolence and good citizenship.
The recipient of the Joey Friot award is Andrew Thompson. An award of $50.00 is given by the Friot Family in Honor of Joey Friot.
The recipients of the Lou Ann Smithers Snyder award are Jenna Tabakaru and Julie Tabakaru. An award of $50.00 each is given in memory of Lou Anne Smithers Snyder by Helen Smithers and Family and is presented to a senior who is continuing their education in the field of health care.
The recipient of the Gerald Phillipe/Mary Monnett award is Caitlin Thurman. Ms. Mary Monnett, a 1967 graduate of HCS and recipient of the 1979 Gerald L. Phillippe Award for Distinguished Public Service has selected Heuvelton Central School to receive a grant from the General Electric Foundation. The Twenty-ninth annual award is for $50.00
The recipients of the Northwest Technical Center awards are Kara Leonard - Allied Health, Allen Ashley - Building Trades, Andrew Ross - Building Trades, Blair Davis - Building Trades, Kassie Towne - Criminal Justice, Racheal Geddes - Cosmetology, Katie Powell - Early Childhood Education and Jordan Jackson - Metalworking Technologies. An award of $50.00 is presented to students who have excelled in their Career and Technical Education program. These young people are hard working, dedicated and goal oriented.
The recipient of the Robert "Bucky" Fenton citizenship award is Megan Johnson. The Eighth annual award is presented to a graduating senior who demonstrates a strong community commitment, volunteerism, loyalty and pride in his or her work.
The recipient of the $100.00 Heuvelton Alumni Association Award is Andrew Ross. An award in carpentry In Memory of Michael Wilson class of 1982.
The recipient of the Brian Kelly memorial award is Brian Nichols. A Brian Kelly Memorial award in the amount of $100.00 is given to a student who has shown the most interest in drama. This award is given by Bruce and Mary Nichols and Family and Greg and Lillian LaRose and family.
The recipient of the Ogdensburg VFW Ladies Aux. award is Andrew Jackson. This award is for $100.00.
The recipient of the Choral Award is Reginald Pierce. An award of $100.00 is presented as a choral award recognizing the enthusiasm, dedication and musical achievement in vocal music.
The recipient of the Daniel Lake award is Scott McKeever. An award of $100.00 is given to a deserving graduate who brightens our day with a keen sense of humor, good character and exceptional personality. This year 's winner was selected by the Class of 2010.
The recipients of the Heuvelton Amvets Post 1997 Family award of $100.00 are Samantha Weaver, Katie Powell, James Willis, Andrew Thompson, Jordan Jackson, and Scott McKeever, Jr.
The recipient of the Dale Simms award is Kassie Towne. An award of $100.00 is given in memory of Dale Simms by Mr. & Mrs. LeRoy Lewandowski for a senior student who has shown the most social growth in four years.
The Arthur V. Brown Achievement Award given by Mr. LeRoy Lewandowski is presented to Zachary Phillips. This award of $l00.00 is given to a High School Senior who has shown the greatest improvement in his or her attitude towards students and relationships to others.
The recipient of the Robert Thompson award is James Willis. The Eighth Annual Robert J. Thompson Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $100.00 each is presented to a student who has the following qualities: Grown socially, energetic, is always ready for a challenge, and lives life to the fullest.
The recipient of the Bill Ames award is Samantha Weaver. The Seventh Annual Bill Ames Memorial Scholarship award in the amount of $100.00 each is given in loving memory of him by his family. The recipient possesses many of Bill 's qualities including friendliness, helpful to others, and possesses a strong determination and overall optimistic outlook on life by living each day to the fullest.
The recipients of the St. Raphael's Altar Rosary Scholarships are Reginald Pierce. This award of $100.00 each is presented to seniors who have an active involvement in St. Raphael 's Parish and the community.
The recipients of the Fifteenth Annual THOMAS G. WHITE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP AWARD in the amount of $100.00 each are Blair Davis and Samantha Weaver. Thomas G. White Memorial Scholarship Award is given annually to a member of the graduating class who plans to go on to college or military service. Someone who has a happy, positive outlook and lives life to the fullest. Someone who displays good citizenship and a willingness to help others in a sincere and positive manner.
The recipient of the Ila Livingston Creative Writing award is Garrison Cook. An award of $100.00 is presented to an individual who has demonstrated both an interest in and an aptitude for Creative Writing.
The recipient of the Ila Livingston award is Jordan Jackson. An award of 100.00 is presented to a student who has shown the most improvement in English during the last four years.
The recipient of the Faye Baxter Memorial Scholarship Award is Taylor Armstrong. This award of $100.00 each is presented by the CSEA St. Lawrence Educational Local 873 Union.
The recipient of the Heuvelton Fire Dept. Auxiliary is Kassie Towne. An award of $100.00 is presented to a student who has shown community involvement and who is continuing his education.
The recipient of the Boy Scouts/Aaron Lashe r Memorial award of $150.00 is Thomas "T.J." Jacobs, III. This award is given to graduating high school students who have maintained active participation in Boy Scout Troop 9. "Character Counts."
The recipients of the Allen Gutterson Memorial award of $100.00 each given by Kathy (Gutterson) Lynch and daughters, Trisha & Alisha are Jesse Hargrave and Samantha Weaver.
The recipients of the PTA "Who I am Makes a Difference" $100.00 award each are Reginald Pierce and Elizabeth Lytle. This award is given to students who demonstrate respect, compassion, helpfulness and who puts others needs before their own.
The recipients of the Heuvelton Lions Club $100.00 each award are Garrison Cook and Blair Davis.
The recipient of the Wilbert & Grace Parish award is Brian Nichols. An award of $200.00 goes to a deserving senior who has shown outstanding musical ability and achievement. This award is in memory of Wilbert and Grace Parish given by their children & grandchildren.
The recipient of the Donald Livingston award is David Thornhill. An award in the amount of $250 in Memory of Donald A. Livingston is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated purpose and perseverance, who is enrolled in a postgraduate program, entering the military, or entering the work force.
The Heuvelton Amvets Post 1997 $250.00 scholarship is given to Elizabeth Lytle in memory of Brian P. Kelly. The recipient of this award, male or female, must exhibit the traits that made Brian Kelly special to those who knew him. These traits include friendliness, helpfulness, determination, cooperation, enthusiasm, and overall optimistic outlook.
The recipients of the Heuvelton Alumni Association Awards of $250.00 each are Elizabeth Lytle, Samantha Weaver, Zachary Limoges and Blair Davis.
The recipient of the Jessie Larche scholarship award is Samantha Weaver. The Ninth annual Jessie Larche Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $250 is awarded to a senior who has achieved academic excellence, has been a good citizen, has been kind and compassionate to others, and plans to continue her studies in the area of veterinary science.
The recipients of the Jerrine Hutchinson award are Cheyenne Martin and Julie Tabakaru. An award of $100.00 each to students planning to continue their education.
The recipient of the Cindy Brady award is Samantha Weaver. An award of $350 is given from Monsignor Robert Giroux Knights of Columbus Council 12958 in memory of Cindy Brady.
The recipient of the William "Bill" Ames award is Garrison Cook. An award of $350 each is given by Monsignor Robert Giroux Knights of Columbus Council 12958 of Heuvelton in memory of William Ames.
The recipient of the Roger Taveo Memorial Scholarship is Taylor Armstrong. An award of $500 is given to a student for pursuing legal studies.
The recipient of the Canton Goldenaires Barbershop Harmony Society is Brian Nichols. An award of $500 is given to a student whose interests indicate promises of continuing contribution to the art of music in the future.
The recipients of the Heuvelton Alumni Association Sportsman awards of $500 is Cheyenne Martin.
The recipients of the Heuvelton Alumni Association Music awards are Brian Nichols and Reginald Pierce. An award of $500.00 each is presented in memory of Irene Cross Thornhill Wallace Murdock.
The recipient of the Heuvelton Alumni Association Art award of $500.00 is Caitlin Thurman.
The recipient of the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Teachers 'Association Scholarship is Elizabeth Lytle.. A $500.00 award for completion in the Allied Health Program at Northwest Technical Center.
The recipient of the Ron Weir scholarship award is Reginald Pierce. An award of $500.00 is given in memory of Ron Weir a 1964 graduate of Heuvelton Central School,a retired Science teacher and a member of St.Raphael 's Parish.
The recipients of the NYS Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent award are Zachary Limoges, Andrew Ross, Jenna Tabakaru and Julie Tabakaru. An award of $600.00 each is given for scholastic achievement, school activities, community service, letters of recommendations and a 300-word essay.
The recipients of the McCadam award are Jenna Tabakaru. The 22nd annual Award given by the late Stanley K. McCadam and Helen Q. McCadam in the amount of $668.95 each. The amount of this award is taken from interest accrued on a gift to the school from the McCadam's. This fund is self-perpetuating and we are allowed to use only the interest on the principal.
The recipient of the Thompson-Weatherup Family Charitable Foundation award of $1,000 is Elizabeth Lytle. Through this scholarship the Thompson-Weatherup Family Charitable Foundation headquartered in Canton is investing in the future of people in St. Lawrence County. The family has an interest in supporting Heuvelton Central School in memory of Holland relatives —Leta Holland Rock, retired teacher from HCS, and Wallace (Bud) Rock, Class of 1942. The scholarship goes to a graduating senior pursuing higher education in a field related to elementary (early childhood)education or healthcare ...and/or who is attending a college/university in St.Lawrence County or nearby in the region.
The recipient of the Heuvelton Alumni special award made possible by Terry Gilbert Class of 1965 of $1,000 is Megan Johnson.
The recipient of the Northern New York Community Foundation Scholarship Award is Reginald Pierce. This is a one-year scholarship award of up to $2,000.